Scenic Rim Salvos step up for farm workers drought relief

HELP AT HAND: Federal MP Scott Buchholz and Salvation Army Captain Wes Bust are encouraging ag workers affected by drought to apply for government assistance. Photo: Supplied
HELP AT HAND: Federal MP Scott Buchholz and Salvation Army Captain Wes Bust are encouraging ag workers affected by drought to apply for government assistance. Photo: Supplied

SCENIC RIM agricultural workers are being encouraged to put their hands up for a one-off $3000 cash payment as part of the Australian government's Drought Community Support Initiative.

Captain Wes Bust from the Fassifern Salvation Army said the funds were available for farmers and farm workers as well as farm suppliers and contractors affected by drought.

He said abattoir workers and people employed at saleyards could also be eligible for funding.

"The Salvation Army has been involved with this project since November 2019 and helped distribute $62.8 million nationally," he said.

"Scenic Rim was not included in the first round of funding but thanks to encouragement from our local federal member Scott Buchholz, the region was included in the second round, which started in March this year.

"Since then we have been able to get $1.31 million distributed locally.

"As at the end of last week, 438 households in the Scenic Rim local government area have been supported by this initiative."

Captain Bust said there were residents within the region who may be unaware that the funding was available to them.

"A lot of farmers in our community have tried so hard to wrestle this drought and if they now have financial debt they may not be in a position to buy back cattle, purchase infrastructure or pay for repairs," he said.

"Many are self-assessing and deciding they would not be eligible or that the application process would be too hard.

"We are asking people who have suffered financially because of the drought, and who have not yet applied, to put in an application.

"It is completely confidential and a way for us to bring hope where it's needed most."

Mr Buchholz said it was a difficult time for many farmers and it was important for families to access the support available to them.

"As a result of this drought, many farmers and farming families are doing it tough and it has been a challenging period, that is reflected in the numbers," he said.

"This payment of $3000 is helping local farmers with household relief, keeping food on the table, paying the bills and giving some breathing room. Our farmers are resilient, they've confronted drought, fire, floods and now the pandemic.

"While we saw green shoots across our region earlier this year with some rain, there is still much more needed to fall, to break the drought.

"I encourage those who are doing it tough and haven't accessed the DCSI to get in touch. A helping hand is just a phone call away by calling the team at the Fassifern Salvation Army on 54632932."

Captain Bust said those eligible needed to be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and live or work in the Scenic Rim local government area.