Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Drought Programs

Drought Communities Programme Extension (now closed)

On 19 August 2018, the Australian Government announced it would extend the Drought Communities Programme. $301 million has been provided over four years from 2018-19 for the Drought Communities Programme Extension to support local infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities in 180 Local Government Areas. The list of Eligible Councils is available here PDF: 494 KB.

The last funding announcement was in January 2020. The program is closed to new entrants.

The DCP Extension is administered through the Business Grants Hub at the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. Information about the DCP Extension, is available at or call 13 28 46.

Review into the Drought Communities Programme Extension

An independent review into the methodology, delivery and objectives of the DCP Extension was conducted by Ernst & Young Australia in late 2019. A copy of the report is available here PDF: 3318 KB.

Ernst & Young Australia developed an interim methodology to inform the allocation of a $50 million DCP Extension fund announced in November 2019. A copy of the report is available here PDF: 1086 KB. The simplified model in the report was used to inform the last DCP Extension announcement in January 2020. This took into account a range of factors, including stricter 24-month consecutive rainfall deficiency data, economic exposure to drought in both agriculture and related downstream manufacturing, and population size with funding tiered at up to $500,000 for councils of less than 1,000 people and up to $1 million for councils with larger populations.

Drought Community Support Initiative - Round 2 (now closed)

The Australian Government has provided $148.5 million for Round 2 of the Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI) to deliver financial assistance to farming households affected by drought.

The funding provided up to $3,000 in short-term financial assistance to eligible farmers, farm workers and suppliers/contractors facing hardship due to drought. Only one DCSI (Round 2) payment was allowed per household.

The DCSI was available through the St Vincent de Paul Society in 117 Local Government Areas (LGAs) eligible for the Drought Communities Programme (DCP) Extension until program funding was exhausted. From 1 May 2021, this included all LGAs announced as eligible for the DCP Extension in January 2020. All funding was exhausted on 30 June 2021.

Applications for assistance are closed in 63 LGAs that had been supported by The Salvation Army, as funding has been exhausted in these areas. The Salvation Army assisted over 25,000 farming families to meet urgent expenses, including for food, petrol and utilities. The injection of money into rural and regional communities also supported local businesses, which have struggled financially from the impact of the drought and COVID-19.

The Round 2 Program Guidelines are available on

The Australian Government committed $33 million in support to drought-affected families through Round 1 of the DCSI. Round 1 operated between 17 December 2018 to 30 June 2019.

Drought Communities Programme 2015 (now closed)

The original DCP delivered benefits in targeted drought affected regions of Australia. The Australian Government provided funding of $35 million over four years, commencing in 2015–16, to fund local infrastructure projects that provided employment for people whose work opportunities were impacted by drought. The program has closed.

Funding was targeted at projects that stimulated local community spending, used local resources, businesses and suppliers, and/or provided a long-lasting benefit to communities and the agricultural industries on which they depend.

Funding was directed to 23 declared local government areas, which were each eligible for up to $1.5 million in funding.

For further information regarding the Drought Communities Programme please email

Last Updated: 5 July, 2021