Drought Support Initiative
As part of Wellington Shire Council’s ongoing commitment to support drought affected farmers across our municipality, we have allocated $1 million from the 2019/20 Council budget for direct financial support.
Seeking advice from our Agriculture Industry Reference Group, Rural Financial Counselling Service and other stakeholders, Council resolved to use this funding to offer a one-off $700 pre-loaded Mastercard for eligible farmers.
You are strongly encouraged to self-assess from the criteria below to determine eligibility to receive the $700 pre-loaded Mastercard:
- Size of farming property is greater than 40ha
- Registered with the Australian Taxation office as a primary producer
- More than 51% of income is generated from the farm, in a normal year
- Contribute more than 51% of labour to the farming enterprise, in a normal year.
If you comply with each criteria above, and have not received a letter in the mail by 26 August 2019, please contact Wellington Shire Council via telephone or email.
Eligible farmers will complete a statutory declaration enclosed in the mailout from Council, and then present the form to the Customer Service Centre at Wellington Shire in Sale. You will then be given a pre-loaded debit card to the value of $700. This card can be used at any outlet accepting Mastercard and is for you to use on any purpose, whether that’s purchasing groceries, paying for stock feed, school fees – however you choose to spend it.
Eligible farmers need to have presented their completed statutory declaration to Council by 31 October 2019.
If you currently lease your farm to a leasee, you can transfer this offer to an eligible leasee. To transfer this offer, the landowner must contact Council on 1300 366 244 and provide details of the leasee. Council will then supply the leasee with an information pack.
Given the drought affects the broader economy in Wellington, it is important that you promptly spend the card at businesses within Wellington Shire so that our local economy also benefits from this initiative.
It is important to note that:
- Only one pre-loaded Master card is available per farming enterprise.
- Once issued, cards become the responsibility of the recipient and lost cards will not be replaced.
- Farmers who are eligible for Council’s drought debit card initiative may also be eligible for additional government support. Information on this support is also enclosed. You may also wish to contact Rural Financial Counselling Service at www.ruralfinancialcounselling.org.au for further information.
In addition to this initiative, Council will continue to provide its 20% discount farming rate compared to the general rate, defer increases to yard due fees at the Gippsland Regional Livestock Exchange for a further 12 months and waive fees for roadside grazing permits.
Other Support Alternatives
Council, along with other levels of Government, currently offer a range of grant and support programs for drought impacted primary producers. Further information is available on the links below.
Further information and advice is available by contacting Wellington Shire Council's Economic Development Department on 1300 366 244.