The Victorian Government has unveiled the first drought support package aimed at curbing the high rates of mental health issues and financial stress in drought-stricken farming communities.
Premier Daniel Andrews, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford and Water Minister Lisa Neville announced the new support measures at a community barbecue in Birchip on November 15.
The new measures aim to support farming families experiencing increased mental and financial stress after two consecutive seasons of extreme weather have resulted in failed crops.
Under the $10million package, rural financial counsellors will receive $270000, while another $300000 is earmarked to assist families with school uniforms, shoes and other school items.
Another $5.8million will go towards funding camps, sports and other excursions for children of families in financial strife, while $1.5million will be dedicated to a Drought Extension Program to help farmers make farm-related decisions.
Mr Andrews said struggling families need not ‘‘go it alone’’.
‘‘These new measures will ensure our farmers have access to the best information so they can make the best decisions for their families,’’ he said.
The announcement comes as Mr Andrews, Ms Pulford and Ms Neville begin travelling across Victoria’s most drought-affected communities to discuss problems with farmers.