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A number of high-priority drought relief projects are progressing across North Queensland, with more projects approved under the Australian Government’s Drought Communities Programme (DCP) Extension.

Minister for Drought David Littleproud said he was pleased to see these local infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities moving forward.

“Thanks to the Australian Government’s contribution of $1 million to each of these councils a range of important initiatives can be rolled out,” Minister Littleproud said.

Funding approvals for two drought communities program projects in the McKinlay and Richmond shires means that councils can get to work right away.

Minister Littleproud said now more than ever, the Government is standing firm to support regional Australia.

“Given the challenges of COVID-19, project events may not be able to proceed in the near future,” he said.

“Nevertheless, communities should rest assured the Government continues to have their back, with an economic support package totalling $320 billion in assistance announced to date.

“This includes an initial $1 billion to be injected into regional communities to support businesses, agriculture and tourism impacted by the ongoing economic impacts.”

Queensland Liberal National Senator Susan McDonald said these communities have also been affected by drought and flood in recent times.

“This funding is critical to local governments. It will allow them to deliver new and improved facilities and amenities, to keep the shires together and strong,” Senator McDonald said.

Minister Littleproud said DCP Extension projects deliver an immediate cash injection to help keep locals employed, businesses open, and to keep money flowing through drought-affected regional economies.

“Drought doesn’t just hurt farmers; it hurts small businesses and the wider community as well, but with DCP Extension funding we can keep money flowing through affected areas.

“So far, since 2018 the DCP Extension has funded over 350 projects, such as the construction of amenities blocks, potable water supply, local tourism assets, community resilience events and employing local drought support officers.

“These Australian Government investments add to the dedicated funding provided for roads in Northern Australia through the Beef Roads program ($100 million) and the Northern Australia Roads Program ($600 million).

“The Government has committed over $1.7 billion in Roads of Strategic Importance funding for corridors and projects in Northern Australia, ensuring the nation’s key freight roads efficiently connect agricultural and mining regions to ports, airports and other transport hubs.

“The Government has also committed around $3.9 billion in funding for major projects on the Bruce Highway through North Queensland.”