​Media Release

‘Seek support if you need it this holiday season’

21 December 2018

As temperatures soar Australians living in drought-affected communities are encouraged to speak up and seek support this holiday season.

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said with Christmas around the corner it was important to remind those who are struggling they're not alone.

"Christmas is a time of celebration and a welcome break for most Aussies, but it can also be a bleak time for some," Minister Littleproud said.

"We don't want people suffering in silence.

"My message to farmers and communities is to reach out and get support from family and friends, and if you notice a loved-one isn't coping encourage them to ask for help."

The Coalition Government has committed almost $7 billion for drought support including over $25 million to improve mental health services in drought-affected areas.

For rural and regional patients in drought-affected areas, mental well-being support is now available over the phone with their GP.

"We've made it easier by removing the need for face-to-face consultations with local GPs. You don't even need to leave the farm."

Australians have been incredibly generous donating to charities. The government has provided a further $30 million to selected charities to ensure they can continue to provide support to drought-affected communities over the summer.

"I want to thank the charities for all the work they have done, and will continue to do, this holiday season," Minister Littleproud said.

For immediate mental health support, you can contact:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
  • MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467

For mental health support specific to your region, find out more at www.healthdirect.gov.au

People experiencing financial challenges due to the drought may be eligible for help through the Emergency Relief program. Locations and providers can be found on the Grants Service Directory by selecting 'Financial Crisis and Material Aid – Emergency Relief' under the 'Service Type' drop down menu.

Australians affected by drought can access information about support and services here www.agriculture.gov.au/drought 

Fast Facts:

  • The Coalition Government recently announced the $5 billion Future Drought Fund.
  • From 1 July 2020, $100 million annually will be directed from the fund to drought resilience projects.
  • The fund will be managed by the Future Fund Board of Guardians, which has a proven track record of managing investment portfolios on behalf of the Government and maximising returns over the long-term.
  • The government has also delivered more than $1.8 billion in assistance measures and concessional loans to support drought-affected farmers and communities.
  • More information on drought support is available at http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought