Drought Communities Programme Extension

What is Drought Communities Programme?

The Drought Communities Programme – Extension provides councils with funding for drought relief projects. Funding is available for eligible councils in areas impacted by drought.



The extension of the Drought Communities Programme provides funding of $123 million to eligible councils for drought-affected regions of Australia. The program supports local community infrastructure and other drought relief projects for communities impacted by drought.

Funding targets projects that:

  • provide work for people whose employment has been impacted by drought
  • stimulate local community spending
  • use local resources, businesses and suppliers
  • provide a long-lasting benefit to communities and the agricultural industries they depend on



The objectives of the program are to deliver support to targeted drought-affected regions of Australia by funding:

  • local community infrastructure and
  • other drought relief projects.

The intended outcomes of the program are to, within a three year timeframe:

  • increase employment in regions by providing work for locals and/or farmers and farm labourers/staff/contractors whose employment opportunities have been affected by drought
  • improve levels of economic activity in regions
  • increase productivity in regions
  • enable better retention of businesses, services and facilities



Each Eligible Council can receive funding for projects up to $1 million.

The grant amount will be up to 100 per cent of eligible project costs (grant percentage).

  • The minimum grant amount per application is $25,000.
  • Applications can include multiple unrelated activities up to the total funding amount of $1 million per Eligible Council


Eligible Projects

To be eligible your project must:

  • be located in an Eligible Council area
  • meet project requirements, see section 6 of the guidelines
  • include eligible activities and eligible expenditure
  • have at least $25,000 per application in eligible expenditure
  • be undertaken in the project period and completed by the date stipulated in section 3.1 of the guidelines

Eligible activities must directly relate to the project and can include:

  • repairs, maintenance, upgrading or building new community facilities
  • repairs, maintenance, upgrades, construction and fit-out of community spaces
  • employing local contractors to undertake repairs and maintenance
  • holding events
  • undertaking other drought relief activities (including water carting for human consumption) that benefit the community
  • development of an Adverse Event Plan.

Eligible expenditure items may include the cost of:

  • suppliers, consultants and contracted labour undertaking eligible project activities
  • materials required to deliver eligible project activities
  • purchasing, leasing or hiring equipment required to deliver eligible project activities
  • holding events and
  • other drought relief activities (including water carting for human consumption)


Eligible Applicants

To be eligible, you must:

  • have an Australian business number (ABN) and
  • be an eligible council listed on this page (and on GrantConnect) or
  • be invited to apply by the Minister


Eligible Councils

The following councils are eligible based on need and the economic impact of drought in the region.

This is being assessed using:

  • rainfall deficiency data from the Bureau of Meteorology
  • population and industry data – particularly reliance on agriculture

The Government monitors drought conditions across the country and may add more councils depending on conditions.

Additional funding was announced on 7 November for 6 new councils (NSW – Greater Hume, Hilltops, Lockhart, Upper Lachlan; SA – Kangaroo Island, Tatiara) and the 122 existing eligible councils. The grant opportunity guidelines and online portal are currently being updated. Eligible councils will be advised via email when applications open for this additional funding.



Applications close:

  • 1 December 2019 for councils announced in March 2019
  • 1 June 2020 for councils announced during the 2019 election campaign
  • 1 June 2020 for Councils announced in September 2019

Applications are now closed for councils announced in 2018.


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