CWA of NSW’s drought aid scheme to close after delivering $19m in support
After almost three years the CWA of NSW is preparing to wrap up its highly successful CWA Drought Aid scheme, which has given out $18,958,269 in assistance to farming families affected by one of the worst droughts on record.
The fund was opened in July 2018 in response to the drought that gripped much of rural and regional NSW and immediately attracted support from generous individual and corporate donors.
It will officially cease on March 12 after a significant drop in applications in recent months, as much-needed rain has fallen in many parts of the state.
“While the whole of NSW is not yet out of drought, overall the season is looking favourable and it is good to see the number of people applying for assistance has dropped considerably since Christmas,” said CWA of NSW President Stephanie Stanhope.
“There are however still some areas classified as being drought-affected, and we have asked branches in these regions to let any eligible applicants know, who have not yet accessed their maximum payment under this scheme, to get their application in prior to the March 12 deadline.”
Under the scheme, grant payments to a maximum of $3000 per individual applicant and/or household were made available to farming businesses that were drought-affected and reliant on farming as their primary source of income. The money was able to be used for the likes of groceries, vehicle maintenance, school expenses, household bills and medical costs.
As many as 8300 applications were received and 11,500 individual payments made under the scheme in the past three years, and Stephanie said the organisation was proud of the fact that all the money donated to the disaster relief fund was distributed without taking an administration fee.
“We could never have imagined when the scheme was set up - with a release of $100,000 from the CWA of NSW Disaster Relief Fund - the extent and severity of this drought. It has gone on for much longer than anticipated but thankfully the fund continued to have money available thanks to the amazing generosity of so many donors,” Stephanie said.
“Informed through our extensive experience in the communities in which we operate, it was important to us to provide support in a way that was equitable, easy to access and easy to use, which is why we always focused on cash grants, and the feedback we have received is that we were able to make a real difference to many families,” she said.
“It’s been so important for so many NSW families who have done it really tough over many years, and helped boost many small town economies that were also hit hard. It’s something of which our organisation and all our members can be very proud.”
Anyone who may still be eligible for assistance can go to www.cwaofnsw.org.au/droughtaid for more information.