Drought Communities Programme

About the program

The Drought Communities Programme (DCP) is designed to deliver benefits in targeted drought affected regions of Australia. The Australian Government is providing $35 million over four years, commencing in the 2015 to 2016 financial year, to fund local infrastructure initiatives that provide employment for people whose work opportunities have been impacted by drought.

Funding will be targeted at projects that stimulate local community spending, use local resources, businesses and suppliers, and/or provide a long-lasting benefit to communities and the agricultural industries on which they depend.

Funding will be directed to declared local government areas.

Eligible projects

Eligible projects must relate to economic, social and cultural infrastructure; safety and accessibility upgrades; and/or town facility developments and upgrades.

Projects will need to demonstrate they expect to:

  • lead to the employment of locals, with a focus on employing farmers and/or farm staff/labourers/contractors)—and/or
  • contribute to the economic activity of communities/regions—and/or
  • lead to the retention of businesses, services and facilities

Declared Councils

Declared Councils that can receive funding under the DCP are those specified by the Minister for Regional Development in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

Funding will initially focus on the following councils:

  • Balonne
  • Barcaldine
  • Barcoo
  • Blackall Tambo
  • Boulia
  • Bulloo
  • Burke
  • Carpentaria
  • Diamantina
  • Flinders
  • Longreach
  • McKinlay
  • Murweh
  • Paroo
  • Quilpie
  • Richmond and Winton in Queensland
  • Brewarrina, Coonamble and Walgett in New South Wales
  • Buloke, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack in Victoria

Additional councils

The Minister for Regional Development, in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, can consider approving further Declared Councils (Additional Councils) under the DCP at their discretion.

The program does not create an entitlement for all drought-affected councils to receive funding. Program funding is capped at $35 million, and once that ceiling is reached through additional councils being added to the list of Declared Councils, then no other approvals are possible, without a further consideration of the program's parameters by the Australian Government.

Program funding

The program will provide up to $35.0 million:

Declared Councils will each receive total payments of $1.5 million.


  • Drought Communities Programme Guidelines PDF: 614 KB ReadSpeaker