darren.chester.mp@aph.gov.au 1300 131 785
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The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has announced $1 million for Wellington Shire Council from the Federal Government’s Drought Communities Program.

Mr Chester said Wellington Shire Council would use the funding to engage local contractors to cart potable water to farming families; stimulate the local retail and tourism industry; and improve infrastructure at Wellington’s leading livestock selling facility to further promote competition and improve access for local farmers.

“Extended drought conditions are taking a toll and it’s become increasingly difficult for farmers across Gippsland, and that flows through to the small business sector,” Mr Chester said.

“All levels of government need to work together to respond to the drought by supporting community recovery activities and investing in job-creating infrastructure projects.

“I’m pleased to announce $1 million for Wellington Shire Council to focus on the projects it believes can best support the local community.

“East Gippsland Shire has also been identified as a priority region and also is eligible to receive $1 million for localised projects.”

The Drought Communities Program is targeted at projects that stimulate community spending by using local resources, businesses, suppliers and workers, or provide long-lasting benefits for communities and the agricultural industries on which they depend.

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Alan Hall welcomed the funding.

“Like so many other rural areas, if the farmers are doing it tough, the whole community is also doing it tough,” Cr Hall said.

“We welcome this funding to support not only the farmers but the wider community during this time of difficulty.”

Minister for Regional Services, Local Government and Decentralisation Bridget McKenzie said despite the impact of natural disasters, regional and rural Australia continued to punch above its weight in the nation’s economy.

“We know when our regions are strong, so is our nation,” Ms McKenzie said.

“With regional Australia accounting for around two-thirds of our exports and employing hundreds of thousands of Australians, supporting these communities now is a small price to pay to ensure we keep the economy growing.”

The Drought Communities Program supports communities in the most drought-affected regions of Australia and builds on more than $7 billion of Federal Government drought support measures.

Funding is available to eligible councils for local infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities. Project funding is intended to provide short-term support, including by boosting local employment and procurement, and addressing social and community needs.

For information on the government’s Drought Communities Program, visit:
https://regional.gov.au/regional/programs/drought-communities.aspx

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