Drought affected farmers and communities in the Bathurst and Lithgow regions are set to benefit from new allocations of funding announced by the federal government yesterday.
As part of their Drought Communities Programme, the federal government has allocated $1 million each towards Bathurst Regional Council and Lithgow City Council to aid in the ongoing relief effort.
Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the Bathurst and Lithgow local government areas [LGA's] were included in the latest round of funding on the basis of recent rainfall figures.
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"The idea is to not only give these regions a much-needed boost, but to also see the benefits of this funding filter down throughout the whole community," Mr Gee said.
"Although recent rain has been welcomed, the figures for both the Bathurst and Lithgow LGA's have been well below average."
Mr Gee said the funding would come to the aid of a range of benefactors, including farmers, tradespeople and retailers.
"This drought is going to last a long time and as it worsens, the federal government will continue to ramp up their response," he said.
"So far, the federal government has committed over $7 billion towards drought relief across Australia, which has been the largest response in our nation's history."
As the owner of Town and Country Rural Supplies, Vicki Wilson has seen her fair share of customers who have been doing it tough with the drought.
Ms Wilson said the funding is welcome recognition that the plight of the drought extends beyond that of the farmers.
"I've been here since 1984, and this drought is unlike anything I've witnessed before," she said.
"The announcement of this funding is fantastic for the Bathurst region, and its now up to the council as to how the money can be used to bring about relief."
"Personally, I hope to see this funding go towards more fencing, worm control in livestock and improvements to the Ben Chifley Dam."
With the dam sitting at 46.1 per cent as of March 19, Bathurst mayor Graeme Hanger said water management will be considered when determining how to allocate the funds.
"We'll have some projects on the drawing board very soon," Mr Hanger said.
"A lot of farmers don't have the money to spend, which causes ripples right down to small businesses."
Lithgow mayor Ray Thompson said the funding will benefit the region's diverse landscape.
"A million dollars is a great shot in the arm for any regional council," Mr Thompson said.