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Other drought assistance programs

The Queensland Government and Australian Government offer programs to help farm families, farm businesses and farm communities affected by drought. This page provides broad descriptions of government drought assistance programs available to Queensland producers.

  • Significant drought reforms will help Queensland primary producers better manage future droughts through a suite of proactive measures including tailored grants and loans.

    The new drought preparedness measures are open to all primary producers without needing a drought declaration.

  • Drought Relief Assistance Scheme

    The Drought Relief Assistance Scheme is administered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries DRAS provides:

    • freight subsidies for the transport of fodder, water and livestock; and
    • the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR).

    Access the guidelines and application forms.

    Transitional arrangements and DRAS

    The DRAS scheme will continue while this drought lasts. Producers who are currently drought-declared can still access existing drought assistance measures such as DRAS.

    Drought-declared producers can continue accessing DRAS fodder and water freight subsidies and the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR) until their drought status is revoked.

    DRAS freight subsidies for the movement of livestock back to a property (purchased livestock and livestock returning from agistment) will remain available for 2 years after a current drought declaration is revoked.

    Drought-declared producers can choose to move to the new drought preparedness grants and loans but will then lose access to DRAS. Producers cannot access both DRAS and the new measures at the same time. However, there is an exception—drought-declared producers can participate in the Farm Business Resilience Program and obtain a farm management grant for a farm business resilience plan while still accessing DRAS.

    DRAS will not be available in future droughts. DRAS will be phased out as local government areas come out of drought. DRAS will not be available in future droughts.

    DRAS freight subsidies in future droughts will be replaced by the zero interest Emergency Drought Assistance Loan Scheme and the concessional interest Drought Carry-on Finance Scheme. The 2 concessional loan schemes will be available to all eligible drought-declared primary producers while DRAS freight subsidies are only available for primary producers with grazing livestock. The concessional loans will help producers fund a wider range of activities than freight to keep their business in operation during drought.

    Drought-declared producers can continue to access the Queensland EWIR under DRAS while this drought lasts, and the Federal On-Farm EWIR until April 2022 or earlier if its funding allocation is exhausted.

    The Queensland EWIR will be replaced by the Drought Preparedness Grant which does not require a drought declaration and can be accessed in any year. The Drought Preparedness Grant can still be used for water infrastructure aimed at improving drought resilience. However, it will be available for a broader range of drought preparedness infrastructure than the EWIR.

    For more information

    Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate

    Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is operating the Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate on behalf of the Australian Government. The rebate includes:

    • a 12.5% rebate for new purchases and installation of water infrastructure for livestock. This rebate was added automatically to the Queensland Government’s Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate. The Queensland Government will continue to provide a 50% rebate under the scheme
    • a 25% rebate for the cost of a contractor to desilt dams used for livestock on your property under the Dam Desilting Rebate (jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments)
    • a 25% rebate for the cost of drilling a new bore and/or desilting a dam for properties with permanent horticulture tree crops (jointly funded by the Queensland and Australian Governments).

    The Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate will end on 30 April 2022 or sooner if the funds provided for this rebate are expended.

    As at 28 February 2022, approximately $740,000 remains for payments under the Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate for Queensland.

    The onus is on you, the applicant, to provide a correctly completed application forms by 30 April 2022 with the necessary documentation to ensure applications can be processed.  DAF does not guarantee payment for applications without the required supporting documentation before the closure of the scheme.

    Access the guidelines and application forms.

    QRIDA drought support

    The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) provides a range of measures that can assist drought affected producers.

    For more information freecall 1800 623 946 or visit QRIDA drought support page.

    Pest animal and weed management in drought-affected areas

    The Queensland Government and Australian Government fund projects aimed at wild dog, cat, feral pig, rabbit and weed management in Queensland.

    Read more about:

    If you would like more information please phone the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.

    Other drought rebates and fee relief

    Find out about other drought rebates and fee relief, including land rent rebates, water fee relief and transport-related drought assistance.

    Other assistance

  • Read more about financial counselling services.

    The Queensland Government has contributed additional funding to the Australian Government's Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS).

  • A range of counselling services are available for drought-affected communities.

    Health care services

    Queensland Health provides primary mental health support to drought-affected areas through the Drought Wellbeing Service provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

    Queensland Health also provides grants and coordination of local mental health services through the Tackling Regional Adversity through Integrated Care program to help build community resilience to drought, disaster and other crises.

    Transport concessions and school transport allowance

    The Department of Transport and Main Roads provides transport concessions for primary producers in drought and increased school transport allowances for some families that drive their children to school or connect with a school bus run.

  • Mr Mark O’Brien and Mr Vaughan Johnson were appointed by the Premier and Minister for Trade on 13 August 2018 as Drought Commissioners. The role of the Commissioners is to ensure that the government remains appropriately informed of current drought conditions and provide updates to the Government on the impacts of drought on rural and remote communities.

    The Commissioners liaise with other stakeholders in the agriculture sector and provide a direct conduit to the Government, including the Premier and Minister for Trade and the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, for any issues arising from the current drought. This includes current conditions and the effectiveness of drought assistance across affected areas of the State and the Government response.

    If you would like to contact the Commissioners please email droughtcommissioners@qld.gov.au or if you would like further information please call 13 25 23.

  • The drought program review was major work undertaken by an independent panel of Ms Ruth Wade and Mr Charles Burke. They were engaged to look at what can be done during droughts and to prepare for future droughts. The independent panel provided their recommendations to the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries on 31 January 2019.

    Access the Drought Program Review report by the independent panel. The recommendations from the report were used as a basis for the Queensland drought assistance measures. Read an overview of the new drought assistance measures.

    The drought measures are open to all primary producers to better manage future droughts without needing a drought declaration. Producers will have access to funding to develop farm management plans and, once completed, will allow access to grants and loans for activities that will improve the drought preparedness of the property and assist producers while in drought.

    For more information

  • On 12 December 2018, Queensland as a member of the Council of Australian Governments agreed and signed a new National Drought Agreement (PDF, 455KB) (NDA). The NDA sets out a joint approach to drought preparedness, responses and recovery, with a focus on accountability and transparency. The agreement recognises the need to support farming businesses and farming communities to manage and prepare for climate change and variability. The NDA focuses on enhancing long-term preparedness and resilience.

    More information is available about the Farm Business Training Skill Sets under the National Training Package for agriculture and horticulture.

Last updated: 22 Mar 2022