Financial assistance

The South Australian Guide for Drought Assistance (PDF 444.8 KB), explains what funding and assistance is available for South Australian farmers.

Council Rate Rebate

Primary producers facing hardship can access a rebate on local council rates through the Council Rate Rebate.

The rebate is open to all eligible South Australian drought affected primary producers approved for Farm Household Allowance and will offer a 50% rebate (or maximum $7,500) on council rates.

Guidelines and application forms


The rebate is open to all eligible South Australian primary producers approved for Farm Household Allowance.


For more information and to discuss your application contact:

Pastoral Lease Rent Rebate

Lease rent payment and the drought support rebate

In March, the Government, supported by the Pastoral Board, applied an across the board 50% rebate to all 2018-19 pastoral lease rents.

Lessees are advised that new invoices are being issued to reflect the reduced rental payment due. Therefore please disregard the earlier invoice/s you received in January. For anyone who has paid in part or full, any money paid above the reduced amount will be reimbursed. For those of you that have made these additional payments, you will be contacted by PIRSA staff to request a copy of your banking details shortly.

For further information on the rebate and other drought support options including business advice and assistance, please visit the PIRSA drought hub online or contact the PIRSA Drought Hotline on 1800 931 314 or email:

Connecting Drought Communities – Events Grant

Community groups and local governments in eligible drought-affected areas of South Australia can apply for event funding under the Connecting Drought Communities – Events Grant.

Find out more about the grant.

Drought Community Support Initiative – up to $3000 grants

The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society are working together to deliver the Drought Community Support Initiative – Round 2 (DCSI) for eligible drought affected households.

If you're a farmer, farm worker or farm supplier/contractor who is struggling financially because of the drought, you may be entitled to receive a one-off payment of up to $3,000 funded by the Australian Government’s Drought Community Support Initiative – Round 2 (DCSI).

To be eligible you'll need to be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and live/work in a specified Local Government Area (LGA). Each charity is responsible for individual LGA’s – to see which organisation you need to reach out to view this list (DOCX 59.4 KB).

Payments can cover numerous expenses such as groceries, vehicle maintenance, energy & utility bills, health & medical expenses. The payment is not considered taxable income. If you had assistance in DCSI (Round 1) which concluded on 30 June 2019 you are eligible to apply for assistance for DCSI (Round 2).

Eligible households can apply for assistance by:

Salvation Army

Ph: 1300 551 030

Apply Online: and fill out an assistance form.

St Vincent de Paul

St Vincent De Paul
Call: 1300 846 643
Apply Online:

Buy-A-Bale/Rural Aid

Rural-Aid and Buy-A-Bale are now delivering much-welcomed support in the form of hay and fodder drops, as well as financial assistance to drought-affected farmers and communities in South Australia.  To register for support go to Buy-A-Bale.

If you want to donate to any of these very worthy charities and support their efforts go to our Donations and Appeals page.

Additional business and financial assistance can also be found through the following services and programs:

Australian Taxation Office advice

Phone:  ATO Hotline 13 11 42
Go to drought help section of ATO website

The ATO offers financial hardship assistance related to repaying income tax or prioritising activity statement refunds.

The Federal Government also announced changes to the accelerated depreciation to encourage investment in drought preparedness.

These measures include:

  • Accelerated depreciation of water facilities over 1 year (previously 3 years).
  • Accelerated depreciation of fodder infrastructure storage over 3 years (previously up to 50 years).
  • Accelerated depreciation of fencing over 1 year (previously up to 30 years).

More advice on tax options and federal government assistance is available on this Supporting Farmers and Rural Communities Fact Sheet (PDF 1.0 MB).

Farm Debt Mediation

Office of the Small Business Commissioner
Phone: (08) 8303 2026 or 1800 702 722
Go to Small Business Commissioner website

The new Farm Debt Mediation Bill enforces a mandatory mediation process before a creditor is able to foreclose on a farming operation. The legislation ensures South Australia’s farmers will be better protected and have greater financial security.

There is a fee of $195 for each mediation applied.

Farm Household Allowance (FHA)

Phone: Farmer Assistance Hotline on 132 316
Go to Federal Government's drought assistance page

The Farm Household Allowance (FHA) provides eligible farmers and their partners who are experiencing financial hardship with assistance and support to improve their long-term financial situation. The Federal Government recently announced changes to the FHA, which may benefit your farming family.

Rural Business Support can help eligible families access their FHA entitlements or provide more information. You can call them on 1800 836 211.

Farm Management Deposits (FMD)

Phone: For Australian Taxation Office business tax enquiries phone 13 28 66
Go to the farm management deposits scheme page

The FMD Scheme assists primary producers to deal more effectively with varying income.

The scheme allows eligible primary producers to set aside pre-tax income from primary production in years of high income, which they can draw on in years of low income.  Income deposited into an FMD account is tax deductible in the year the deposit is made. It becomes taxable income in the year in which it is withdrawn.

On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme

South Australian primary producers in drought affected areas can now apply to the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme under a new round of funding.

You may be eligible to receive a rebate of up to 30% (max $30,000) for the cost of purchasing, installing and repairing on-farm water infrastructure for livestock and permanent horticulture.

Learn more about the scheme

Legal assistance

Legal Advice Line

Phone: 1300 366 424 (local call costs except for mobiles)
Go to Legal Services Commission of SA website

Free telephone legal advice is available for preliminary information, advice and referrals.

Legal Aid

Phone: 1300 366 424 (local call costs except for mobiles)
Go to Legal Services Commission of SA website

When services beyond simple legal advice are needed, the Legal Services Commission of South Australia can arrange a Legal Aid grant to be paid direct to a lawyer to cover legal costs. However, if legal aid is granted, you will have to pay a contribution towards your legal costs, depending on what you can afford.

Loans for farmers

The Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) provide low interest loans with no fees of up to $2 million, and available to apply anytime. From January 2020, the RIC will offer these loans as two years interest free.  Loans are aimed at supporting farming businesses to prepare for, manage through or recover from drought.

The RIC also now offer Small Business Drought loan for amounts of up to $500,000. The first two years will be no interest and no repayment, followed by three years interest-only and then five years principal and interest.

More information at Regional Investment Corporation.

Multi-Peril Crop Insurance

South Australia recently waived the stamp duty fees on multi-peril crop insurance – which can reduce the cost by several thousand dollars. Multi-peril crop insurance covers production costs incurred by farmers if their crop fails due to a nominated peril – which in South Australia includes drought. For more advice reach out to your local Rural Financial Counsellor or agriculture/business consultant.

Telecommunication Bill Assistance

Contact your telecommunication services directly or a Rural Financial Counsellor to assist with negotiations. All telecommunications services have hardship policies to allow people who are doing it tough to negotiate payment arrangements. Most will provide flexibility with the following;

  • Long term payment arrangements
  • Reviewing and removing administrative fees
  • Placing customers on more affordable plans
  • Conversion to pre-paid services
  • Allowing incoming and emergency calls only to fixed lines.
Page Last Reviewed: 28 May 2020
Top of page