Australian Government support
for primary producers
The Australian Government is committed to supporting primary producers affected by drought and other challenges such as bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The links below take you to information on recovery assistance and the role of the National Drought and Flood Agency in helping Producers build resilience and get through the tough times.
Regional Recovery Officers
The National Drought and Flood Agency’s Regional Recovery Officers are a voice for people living outside of the larger cities and a crucial source of real time information about how Australian Government assistance measures are working for primary producers, regional businesses and communities.
The regional team plays a key coordination role, working with all levels of government, health professionals, counsellors, small businesses, charities, agricultural and community organisations to provide effective on-the-ground assistance for people impacted by drought, natural disasters like floods and bushfires, and challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit our Regional Recovery Officer page.
Recovery Connect – Drought
If you are a Primary Producer affected by drought, use Recovery Connect to find support near you from government, charities, and community organisations. Please continue to check back in as we regularly update available services.
Drought Community Outreach Program
The National Drought and Flood Agency has is partnering with Rotary Australia for Drought Community Outreach events. These events bring together a range of services to help community members understand the different types of support available to them during these difficult times.
Rotary is also funded to provide vouchers of up to $500 to eligible farming households experiencing financial hardship due to drought. Visit: www.droughtandflood.gov.au/recovery-assistance/outreach
Rural Financial Counselling Service
The RFCS provides free, confidential financial counselling to farmers, fishers, forest growers, harvesters and related small business owners who are suffering financial hardship. Call 1800 686 175 to contact the nearest RFCS office or visit www.agriculture.gov.au/rfcs
FarmHub is a central point of information on support and programs from all levels of government, industry groups and not-for-profit organisations. It connects farmers to a range of helpful services and support. Visit www.farmhub.org.au
Farm Household Allowance
FHA provides assistance to farming families experiencing financial hardship, no matter the cause of that hardship. It focuses on helping farmers make important decisions to improve their long-term financial situation, including leaving the industry. The support available includes a fortnightly payment for up to 4 years in each specific 10-year period and individual case support with a Farm Household Case Officer.
For more information visit www.agriculture.gov.au/fha or call the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316. You can apply for the FHA here.
Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) loans
The Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) is a Federal Government-backed specialist finance provider for farmers and farm-related small businesses. They offer low-interest rate loans to eligible farm businesses, for purposes such as drought recovery and preparedness. Visit www.ric.gov.au
Drought Community Support Initiative
Immediate financial support of up to $3,000 is available through the St Vincent de Paul Society in eligible Local Government Areas for farmers, farm workers and suppliers/contractors facing hardship due to drought as part of the Drought Community Support Initiative.
Visit Vinnies: www.vinnies.org.au/page/Find_Help/drought_assistance
Round 2 guidelines for the Drought Community Support Initiative are available here
CWA Household Grants
The Australian Government is providing $2.5 million to the Country Women’s Association of Australia to further support their drought relief program. Household grants are being distributed to farming families.
Assistance can be provided as cash payments or vouchers up to $3,000. To apply for financial assistance through the CWA visit www.cwaa.org.au/donations-assist/assistance
If you are a current or new recipient of Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment (previously known as Newstart Allowance), Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single) or Special Benefit, you are eligible to receive a $150 Coronavirus supplement each fortnight, in addition to your usual payment. Scheme ends 31 March 2021. Visit: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/coronavirus-supplement
Bushfire Recovery Grants
Grants for primary producers in fire affected Local Government Areas (Category C) to help with direct impacts of the bushfire (damage from fire or smoke).
For more information visit www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/small-business
- To apply for a primary producer grant in New South Wales, call 1800 678 593 or visit: www.raa.nsw.gov.au
- To apply for a primary producer grant in Queensland, call 1800 623 946 or visit: www.qrida.qld.gov.au
- To apply for a primary producer grant in South Australia, call 1800 931 314 or visit: www.pir.sa.gov.au
- To apply for a primary producer grant in Victoria, call 1800 260 425 or visit: www.ruralfinance.com.au
On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme
Provides rebates for emergency on-farm water infrastructure expenses. You can apply for a 25% rebate on the cost of new infrastructure that supplies water for animal welfare, up to a maximum of $25,000. The roll-out of the expanded Scheme is currently being negotiated with all states and territories, including co-funding arrangements. Further information will be available once those arrangements have been finalised. Visit www.agriculture.gov.au/water/national/on-farm-infrastructure-rebate
Apple grower grants
Grants of $120,000 per hectare will be available to support bushfire-affected apple growers to re-establish and repair damaged or destroyed orchard or perennial trees.
Applicants must provide a co-contribution of up to $120,000 per hectare. Information on application processes and eligibility criteria: https://farmhub.org.au/listing/bushfire-recovery-grants-for-apple-producers/
Seasonal Worker Program and Pacific Labour Scheme
Participants will be able to extend their stay for up to a year. This will ensure farmers have enough labour to plant and pick crops. Seasonal workers will also be exempt from a rule that normally prevents them from staying with the same employer for more than six months. Visit www.employment.gov.au/seasonal-worker-programme
Emissions Reduction Fund
A voluntary scheme that aims to provide incentives for a range of organisations and individuals to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their emissions.
National Drought Map
The National Drought Map brings together information from a range of climatic, economic, and policy sources to assist users with analysis, decision making, planning and reporting. The map visualises data including seasonal climate forecasts, soil moisture levels, regional profiles and available government grants.
Visit https://map.drought.gov.au/ or www.droughtandflood.gov.au/drought-map
Regional weather and climate guides
The Bureau’s regional weather and climate guides aim to improve the resilience of farming businesses by providing localised facts about the likelihood, severity and duration of key weather variables.
If the drought is causing financial difficulties for you or your business, the Australian Taxation Office can help with:
- more time to pay or payment plans with interest-free periods
- waiving penalties or interest charges
- tax incentives for primary producers
- small business tax concessions.
You can phone the ATO on 1800 806 218 to discuss your situation or visit the ATO website.
Farm Management Deposits Scheme
Allows eligible primary producers to set aside pre-tax income from their primary production activities to draw upon in future years when needed. Visit www.ato.gov.au/Business/Primary-producers/In-detail/Farm-management-deposits-scheme
Accelerated depreciation for fodder and water infrastructure
Accelerated depreciation arrangements, which allow an immediate deduction for the cost of certain new water facilities, fodder storage assets and fencing. Visit www.ato.gov.au/Business/Primary-producers/Livestock-and-other-assets/Depreciating-assets
Income tax averaging
Allows farmers to even out their high and low income years and the tax payable over a maximum of five years.
Disaster Assistance (Essential Working Capital –Primary Producer) Loans
Concessions loans up to $100,000 to assist primary producers with essential working capital.
Disaster Assistance Loans – Primary Producer
Concessional loans up to $250,000 to primary producers to repair and replace damaged plant and equipment, farm buildings or purchase livestock.
North Queensland Restocking, Replanting and On-farm Infrastructure grants
Grants up to $400,000 for primary producers impacted by the 2019 North Queensland flood event to restock and re-plant, repair and re-build.
Exceptional Disaster Assistance Loans
Exceptional Disaster Assistance Loans are available to help primary producers and small businesses who have sustained exceptional damage as a direct result of the 2019 North and Queensland Monsoon flood event.
All eligible primary producers are able to access loans of up to $1 million to assist with replacing damaged infrastructure. Maximum term of 10 years, first 2 years interest free. Interest rate of 1.37% from the third year.
Flood freight restocking and agistment subsidies for Primary Producers
Flood freight restocking and agistment subsidies for eligible 2019 North Queensland flood affected primary producers of up to $50,000 per year for up to two years.
Tax assistance – 2019 North Queensland flood event
The Australian Tax Office provides a number of services to families and small businesses impacted by the North Queensland floods in 2019 For more information, call the ATO Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218 or visit their website.
Last updated on 4 February 2021