Government could announce $10m community fund this week: MP

Government could announce $10m community fund this week: MP

Barnaby Joyce is crossing his fingers this will be the week the Federal government announces a ten million dollar locally-administered drought package.

The plan, which passed the Nationals party room with unanimous consensus, would give each local government area a $10 million bucket of cash to be administered by a committee of the local great and good.

"You'd have the mayor, maybe the head of a charity, senior stock and station agent, rural financial councillor, state member, federal member, to disperse funds from a $10 million bucket that would be half funded by the state, half funded by the federal government," he told the Armidale Express.

State and Federal MPs would be the only committee members with veto power over a cash handout.

The member for New England and former deputy Prime Minister recently threw his support behind a third round of the Drought Communities program.

The MP said the new package would be akin to Drought Communities, but needed to be more flexible because the social and financial stresses caused by the drought are so diverse.

"We've been getting so many and variable requests for support; some of it is in the form of feed for cattle, some of it is in the form of relief against rates, some of it is in the form of businesses in town that are doing it tough and some of it is in the form out west for kids out west who don't have a high school in their district so they go to boarding school and they can't afford the boarding school fees any more so they're going home, that's the end of their education.

"It's hard to come up with a policy that suits each one of these requirements and there's many others.

"So having a local committee that would be able to understand the local issues, be able to discern between bonafide requests and spurious requests, and to help their local district in a way that we can say we've distributed the funds to those closes on the ground and they're making the allocations as they see fit."

The fund, which could be half funded by the states, would cost around $1.3 billion according to documents obtained by the ABC.

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