Drought-affected farmers in Wellington can now apply for a pre-loaded debit card to the value of $700, to assist with living expenses.
Wellington Shire Council today approved that affected farmers who meet certain criteria be provided direct financial help through the provision of a $700 debit card.
Funding for the initiative comes from the $1 million set aside in the 2019/20 Council Budget for direct drought support.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor Alan Hall said Council consulted with its Agriculture Industry Reference Group (AIRG) and other key stakeholders before deciding how to best spend the $1 million.
“Council thought long and hard about how we could provide an immediate, direct impact not only to farmers but also the rest of the Wellington economy which is also suffering from this drought,” he said.
“We sought input from our AIRG, which includes representatives from a number of different farming organisations.
“While we wanted to provide financial assistance, we didn’t want to dictate to farmers how they must spend that money because everyone has a different story to tell about the drought.
“With this pre-loaded debit card, farmers will be free to spend it wherever they need the assistance, whether that’s buying groceries, farming supplies or purchasing school items for the kids.”
Cr Hall said Council was seeking a commitment from farmers that they would pass on the good-will of this initiative by spending the $700 in their local communities, to keep the money flowing through the Wellington economy.
“Council’s only stipulation is that we want farmers who receive this assistance to spend it locally wherever possible, so that the funding also acts as a boost to our local retail sector,” he said.
Further information is available on our Drought Relief page.