BACKGROUND
 
  • During 2018, in response to the widespread national drought, Channel Nine, Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) and the National Farmers Federation (NFF) entered into a partnership to raise funds from the general public.
 
  • The Channel Nine/RAWCS/NFF National Drought Relief Appeal, held in August 2018, raised over $10 Million for distribution.  A number of local Clubs made significant contributions.  This appeal closed on 30 September 2018.
 
  • Under the partnership agreement, the NFF is responsible for the allocation of appeal funds to farmers and their families.  By 17 October 2018, $7,982,600 has been allocated.
 
  • The National Farmers Federation have placed on hold the final distribution of $2 million from the National Appeal.
 
  • Following the closure of the National Drought Relief Appeal, RAWCS set up a dedicated Drought Relief Fund containing donations of $400,000, which will be distributed to existing RAWCS projects, mainly situated on the Eastern seaboard.
 
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT
 
  • The Federal Government has provided a further $30M to be offered as grants to Charity groups across Australia.  The National Charities approached were Rotary, CWA, Lions, St Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army.
 
  • This money is distributed to farming families as a $2,000 cash contribution and $1,000 in the form of fuel and food vouchers to be provided by 30 June 2019.  There will be a second tranche of grants available in February 2019.
 
ACTIVITY OF NATIONAL CHARITIES
 
  • RAWCS currently has eight drought relief projects from Far North Queensland to Victoria.  These projects applied and received funding from the recent Commonwealth’s $30M and cover 51 of the 81 LGA’s.  None of the LGA’s in South Australia and Broken Hill were considered.
 
  • CWA received $400,000 and paid $3,000 to each farmer waiting for the Household Allowance and Emergency Aid.  They are concerned about vouchers because of the stigma associated in local communities.  In SA, CWA have been working with Red Cross and other organisations that donated money to them (Woolworths, Dick Smith, etc.) to allocate their drought support.  They are working with Rural Business Support to identify farmers through rural financial counselling and allocate support – either as direct funds or bill payment.
 
  • Lions have distributed $100K food and Fuel vouchers via IGA over their two Districts.  They have given 100 Vouchers in the Broken Hill Area.
 
  • St Vincent de Paul are working through their community conferences (local meetings) in the Drought affected regions in South Australia and Broken Hill They are providing $2,000 in cash and $1,000 in Vouchers for food and fuel and would like to involve Rotary in the distribution of these funds.  We are having a meeting in the New Year to discuss how Rotary can help.
 
  • Red Cross are providing Health Services.
 
  • Rural Business Support are working with groups to assist with business solutions.
 
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SITUATION
 
 
  • The Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) have on-ground involvement with the Regional community in the Drought affected Regions in SA.  They also have direct communications with many other Government Departments.
 
  • PIRSA conducts workshops connecting key people involved in community action groups.  PIRSA was involved in the Federal Government Drought Summit, where each of the17 Councils in the Drought affected zones were allocated $1M to be spent by 30 June 2019 to stimulate their local economy.
 
  • PIRSA have set up a sub-committee of the main charities and organisations (CWA, Lions, St Vincent de Paul, Red Cross, Rotary, Rural Business Support) who have funds or support available for drought-affected farmers/families and communities.
 
HOW CAN MY CLUB HELP?
 
If your Rotary Club would like to help drought-affected farmers still awaiting assistance, you need to register a RAWCS Drought Relief Project in our RAWCS Central Region.  Establishing a new project will greatly enhance local assistance, should future RAWCS funding become available; while also allowing us to offer tax deductibility and DGR status to donors.
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
 
Submitted by: PDG Bob Cooper