Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with Deputy PM Michael McCormack visit Strathmore Farm outside of the township of Trangie in north-western NSW. Picture:  Britta Campion / The Australian
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with Deputy PM Michael McCormack visit Strathmore Farm outside of the township of Trangie in north-western NSW. Picture: Britta Campion / The Australian

$1m: Councils given drought cash

COMMUNITIES reeling from Australia's worst drought in more than 50 years will be given extra funding to help deal with the dry conditions in their own way.

Sixty drought-affected councils across western Queensland, NSW and Victoria will be handed $1 million each by the federal government to spend on anything from trucking in drinking water to building new community facilities. The grants are part of new funding Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced to help farmers and communities, bringing the total support offered by the federal government so far to $1.8 billion.

Mr Turnbull, who is in Forbes today, has also announced retired Major General Stephen Day will be national drought co-ordinator.

He said the government was responding to feedback it has received from many farmers in recent weeks.

Giving money to councils - 36 in NSW, 22 in Queensland and two in Victoria - would help inject money into towns, he said.

"This is really important, to get some more cash into these communities, to do long overdue work of the type the councils are always attending to," Mr Turnbull said in a social media video.

 

"That's going to provide some more jobs and some more income into the town."

The government will also double the amount farmers can borrow in low-interest loans from $1 million to $2 million, which can be spent on fodder and water. The total amount available for loans in any one year will also be doubled from $250 million to $500 million, according to News Corp.

The former military officer will help bring together those working to help farmers, including not-for-profit organisations and farming groups, he said. "It's very important to bring all of our efforts across all the affected regions together," the prime minister said.

The latest announcement comes two weeks after Mr Turnbull announced the federal government's $190 million relief package, which included extra payments as part of the Farm Household Allowance.



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