Drought assistance programs

The latest drought situation map can be viewed on the Long Paddock.

Learn how an area or shire is drought declared.

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.

The latest information on drought declarations and revocations in Queensland is available on the Long Paddock website.

Queensland Government programs

Business assistance

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.

Bee Industry Assistance Package

The bee industry relief package includes:

  • Apiary permit fee waivers for State forests, national parks and other protected areas, for the 2020-21 financial year. Permit holders will not need to make a special application, as assistance will be applied automatically. Refunds of fees already paid will also be applied automatically for the applicable financial year

Read more about the Beekeeping Industry Assistance Package (PDF, 509.8KB).

Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate

Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries was operating the Australian Government On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate on behalf of the Australian Government. The funding provided by the Australian Government has now been fully expended. The rebate included:

  • a 25% 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 Australian Dam Desilting Rebate
  • a 25% rebate for the cost of drilling a new bore and/or desilting a dam for properties with permanent horticulture tree crops.

Please Note: On 2 October 2020, the Australian Government announced a further $50 million, Australia wide, to the On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate program.

The Queensland Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate remains available irrespective of the funding status for the Australian Government’s On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.

QRIDA Drought Support

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

  • Low interest Sustainability Loans up to $1.3 million can be used for a variety of drought-related infrastructure that can improve the long term productivity such as de-silting dams, purchasing equipment for feeding and fodder production, adding water points and water infrastructure to exclusion fencing.
  • Existing loan clients can talk with QRIDA about possible repayment options to alleviate financial pressure.
  • Restructuring farm debt—QRIDA has a free advisory service to access independent financial experts to analyse your farm business and provide you with restructuring options for your farm debt.

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

Financial counselling services

Read more about financial counselling services.

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

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:

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.

Community and family assistance

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.

Australian Government drought assistance

The Australian Government provides a number of assistance measures for farmers and rural communities affected by drought and other hardship. Measures include: