Social and community support

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​On 9 May 2015, the Australian Government announced $20 ​million to extend and expand existing social and community support​​, including mental health support and counselling, for drought-affected farming families and communities.


The Australian Government understands that some farmers, farm families and rural communities are doing it tough because of drought and this can affect their mental health and wellbeing. To assist, the Australian Government is investing a further $20 million to enhance social and community support for drought-affected areas. This brings the total investment since February 2014 to over $35 million.

The social and community support measure provides enhanced community and social support in 69 local government areas (LGAs) experiencing severe and prolonged drought in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

What support services are available under this measure?

The social and community support measure provides additional free support services, including:

  • one-to-one counselling
  • family support services
  • outreach support
  • community events focused on mental health and wellbeing
  • advice and referrals for people in need who live in drought-affected communities.   

Community engagement activities and events are a key focus to link people to services that meet their individual needs.

The funding enhances existing Community Mental Health and Families and Children  Activity services delivered by the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Visit the DSS website for more information on social and community support delivered by DSS. 

Department of Human Services drought coordinators will continue to communicate the assistance available to farmers and their communities in drought-affected areas of New South Wales and Queensland. An additional two drought coordinators will be deployed to service Western Australia and the border of South Australia and Victoria.

More information about drought coordinators is available by contacting the Department of Human Services Farmer Assistance Hotline 132 316 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm local time).

This measure complements the range of existing services and support that are available on an ongoing basis to assist people who are experiencing distress or mental illness. These services are available now.


The measure will continue the success of the existing social and community support measure announced in February 2014, to which the Australian Government has allocated more than $15.5 million. Refer to the following links for more information about past announcements:

Questions and answers

I think I know someone who needs help. Who can I call?

If you or someone you know is in need of immediate help, they can contact:

The Australian Government also funds a range of ongoing Community Mental Health and Families and Children Activity services throughout Australia.

The following Community Mental Health and Families and Children Activity services are available for people outside drought-affected areas: