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Southern Downs service agencies join forces to tackle drought relief

Southern Downs Regional Council has organised a one-of-a-kind gathering in an effort to co-ordinate drought relief efforts across the region.

This morning saw more than 50 people from non-government organisations, the banking sector, not-for-profit organisations and government agencies attend an inaugural inter-agency meeting in Dalveen.

The meeting was devised after recent community consultation forums were held in Warwick and Stanthorpe, which showed a need to coordinate the large amount of different types of support available within the community, from Queensland Country Women’s Association’s $7500 assistance packages to smaller amounts and help with household bills from organisations such as Condamine Headwaters Landcare Group.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie said the outcome from today’s meeting was to develop a comprehensive list of agencies and understand exactly what funding opportunities or services each could provide to the community.

“It’s likely a lot of families suffering from the drought across the region aren’t aware of just how much help there is out there and just accessible it is,” she said.

“Hopefully now we have compiled this list of options for families, people will find it easier to see how they can make their lives a little easier.

“This is all about making a difference to the community and also letting all of the agencies know what each other are offering.”

Further meetings are planned, with the intent of all organisations collaborating and achieving simplified processes for the community.

The Southern Downs region was drought declared in May 2018 and on August 18, the Federal Government announced the region was one of those in line for a $1 million funding boost.

This funding is being allocated to drought-stricken rural communities as an economic boost and Council will make decisions on how the money is to be spent now that the Federal Government guidelines have been released.

Southern Downs Regional Council has recently appointed a Community Development Officer to coordinate the drought response, so any Southern Downs families struggling to pay rates or utility notices can also contact Charee Aspinall on 1300 MY SDRC (1300 697 372) to discuss their options.

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Dalveen Meeting

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