More drought support funding

Drought support programs operating on the Eastern Eyre Peninsula will be boosted as part of a $21-million package announced this week.

The state government drought support program will fund a variety of measures offering financial relief and assistance.

Among the measures is a 50 per cent rebate for council rates and pastoral lease rent in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 for those receiving the Farm Household Allowance, providing farmers with rate relief without impacting local council revenue.

The federal government's On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme incentivising the purchase of on-farm water infrastructure will be increased from 25 per cent to 50 per cent or up to $50,000.

The program will also increase funding for two programs offering support to farmers to access necessary services; the Family and Business support (FaB) program and Rural Business Support.

The FaB program has already seen three members of the Eyre Peninsula community - Helen Lamont, Jeanette Long and Steve Whillas - given training and support to act in a mentoring role across drought-affected communities, providing wellbeing and business advice and participating in community events.

Eastern Eyre Peninsula farmers contacting the organisation are generally referred to one of three rural financial counsellors working out of Wudinna.

Local counsellor Libby Baldock said the Wudinna office was getting busier with farmers finishing harvest early.

"We've certainly seen an increase in contacts, particularly with people wrapping up harvest," she said.

Ms Baldock said additional funding was welcome for all services offering support to farmers.

"It's really important to get as many services and support providers as quickly as possible," she said.

Primary Industries and Regions Minister Tim Whetstone said the organisation was playing a vital role.

"The Rural Financial Counselling Service is doing an outstanding job in not only providing support for farmers applying for the Farm Household Allowance but also creating greater resilience, so additional assistance through this program is important," he said.

Rural Business Support is available at 1800 836 211.

Information on the drought rebates and how to apply is available from pir.sa.gov.au/drought.