darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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Drought affected farmers will be able to access detailed information and immediate assistance at a series of information sessions being held across Wellington and East Gippsland shires next week.

The sessions will commence in Heyfield and Rosedale on March 26 and continue through Yarram, Sale, Stratford, Omeo, Bairnsdale and Buchan concluding in Orbost and Cann River on April 5.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said farmers would be able to speak to Federal and State Government agencies, charities, industry groups and mental health providers about their circumstances and the help that is available to them. Information will be available covering the Farm Household Allowance, the Rural Financial Counselling Service and tax assistance measures.

Representatives from the Salvation Army will attend and can provide immediate practical assistance up to $3000 for eligible farmers, farm workers and farm suppliers.

“This is a valuable opportunity for farmers to discuss their personal circumstances with the agencies who can help them,” Mr Chester said.

“I’m concerned there are producers who don’t know what help is available to them and don’t know where to start looking. Hopefully by bringing these agencies and services closer to farmers, more will be able to take up the assistance on offer.”

Mr Chester said the information sessions would be attended by the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink, Rural Financial Counselling Service, Landcare, NBN Co, Gippsland Primary Health Network and Lifeline and Victorian Government agencies.

The Salvation Army will also attend to distribute a range of immediate support from the Federal Government’s $30 million Drought Community Support Initiative (the DCSI), which provides practical assistance up to $3,000 (up to $2,000 cash and $1,000 in vouchers) to eligible farmers, farm workers and farm suppliers/contractors who are facing hardship due to the drought and live or work in East Gippsland and Wellington shires.

A full list of venues and times for the Drought Outreach Program in Gippsland is below.

For more information, visit www.agriculture.gov.au/drought or call 0447 901 396.

Wellington Shire

Date Town Time Venue
Tuesday March 26 Heyfield 9am-12pm Heyfield Hall
34-38 MacFarlane Street
Tuesday March 26 Rosedale 3pm – 5pm Old School House Gallery Prince Street
Wednesday March 27 Yarram 9am – 12pm Function room, Ship Inn Motel 480 Commercial Rd
Thursday March 28 Sale 9am – 12pm The Matador
68-78 Raymond St
Thursday March 28 Stratford 3pm – 5pm Mechanics Hall 17 Hobson Street

East Gippsland Shire

Date Town Time Venue
Tuesday April 2 Omeo 9am-12pm Omeo Soldiers Memorial Hall 179 Day Avenue
Wednesday April 3 Bairnsdale 9am – 12pm Anzac Room, Bairnsdale RSL 2 Forge Creek Road
Thursday April 4 Buchan 9am – 12pm Mechanics Hall 45 Main Road
Thursday April 4 Orbost 3pm – 5pm Orbost Exhibition Centre 10-12 Clarke Street
Friday April 5 Cann River 9am – 12pm Cann River Town Hall Tamboon Road

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