These FAQ are current at time of publication and may be subject to change without notice, as details of the program become known.
- What is the Drought Community Support Initiative, Round II?
The Drought Community Support Initiative (DCSI) is an Australian Government funded project that provides a one-off payment to farmers, farm workers and farm suppliers/contractors affected by the drought and living in an eligible Local Government Area (LGA).
DCSI Round II is a second round of funding being provided by the Commonwealth Government under this initiative. In this round, there is $30,000,000 of funding to be distributed to eligible households, through payments of $3,000. Vinnies and the Salvos have been asked to distribute the funds and will each provide $15,000,000 of assistance.
- How much money is available?
Each eligible household will receive a one-off payment of $3,000 into their nominated bank account.
- Am I eligible for funding under DCSI Round II?
You are eligible for DCSI funding if you:
- are a farmer, farm worker or farm supplier/contractor
- derive your main source of income from farming activities
- are experiencing hardship because of the drought
- are over 18 years of age
- are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- live or work in an eligible LGA
Only one application can be made from any household.
- How do I know if I am in an eligible LGA?
The Government has identified 122 eligible local government areas. You can find the full list here.
- How do I apply for funding?
Half of the eligible LGAs are being serviced by the St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies). The Salvation Army is servicing the other half. The list of eligible LGAs shows which organisation is servicing your LGA.
Both organisations have a quick and simple online application form, as well as a toll free number you can call if you would like to speak to one of our Drought Relief Team.
If you are in an LGA serviced by Vinnies, click here.
If you are in an LGA serviced by The Salvation Army, click here.
- What if my LGA does not appear in the list?
If your LGA does not appear in the list of eligible LGAs, the St Vincent de Paul Society may still be able to assist you. Please call 13 18 12 for assistance.
- How long will it take me to complete the application?
It should take you approximately 20 minutes to complete the application. Please read the instructions carefully and make sure that you have the required supporting documents ready to upload. While you can start your application and come back to it later, it will only be saved to the computer you start it on, so you will need to complete it on the same device.
If you need assistance to complete the application, please call us on 1300 846 643 (1300 VINNIES) and one of the Drought Relief Team will talk you through the process.
- What if I don’t have access to the online application?
Please phone the Drought Relief Team on 1300 848 643 (1300 VINNIES) for assistance.
- Do I need to provide invoices for payment to be made?
No. Payment of $3,000 will be paid into your nominated bank account when your completed application is received and approved by the Drought Relief Team.
- How long will it take to process my application?
If your application is complete and straight forward, it should be processed within 14 days. High levels of applications may result in longer processing times, and incomplete applications or applications made on a paper form (rather than the web form) will take longer to process.
- Do I have to declare this payment as taxable income?
No – the payment is not considered taxable income.
- I applied for funding under Round I of the DCSI, can I apply again?
Yes, you may apply again under Round II if you applied and/or received funding under Round I.
- Why are applications not yet open?
An agreement must be in place between the Society and the Federal Government prior to applications opening. While this is being finalised, we are setting up our Help Desk so that we can process applications as soon as the agreement is in place.
- When will applications open?
We hope to be able to open applications within the next two weeks. Our DCSI Help Desk is open now to answer any general queries you have about the program.
- How do I find out if my Local Government Area is eligible for funding?
Check the list on our website here.
- Which Local Government Areas are being serviced by Vinnies and which by the Salvos?
- Why is my Local Government Area not on the list?
The Local Government Areas covered by the program are determined by the Commonwealth Government based on information from the Bureau of Meteorology.
It is possible that the eligible LGA list may be updated during the delivery of the program. We will keep the list up to date on our website, and you can check with our Help Desk to see if changes have been made.
If your Local Government Area is not listed but you believe it should be, you could raise the matter with your local MP.
- How is my application assessed?
We will assess your application to make sure it meets the criteria for eligibility determined by the federal government. To do this we will:
- Verify your date of birth
- Verify your primary source of income
- Verify that no other claim has been received from your household.
If your application passes this initial assessment, it will be approved for payment. If we have any questions, we will contact you to obtain further information or clarification.
- How can I find out the status of my application?
We will send you an email when your application is received, and we will contact you during assessment if we have any questions. We will contact you when payment is made. If you would like an update on your application at any time, you can contact our Help Desk by phone on 1300 VINNIES or by email via firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Why does the application form ask for my State of Residence?
The program is only running in States in which drought has been declared. These are currently NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.
- Why does the application form ask for my Local Government Area?
Only areas which have been declared ‘in drought’ by the Bureau of Meteorology are included in the program. These determinations are made by the BoM at a local government area level. We need your Local Government Area to check that you live or work within one of the eligible areas.
- What is my Local Government Area?
A local government area (LGA) is an area within a State or territory that a particular local government has responsibility for. Local governments are sometimes known as Shire Councils.
- How do I find out my Local Government Area?
Your rates notice is issued by your local government and can be referred to for more information on your Local Government Area. If you do not have a rates notice, you can check your Local Government Area by searching for ‘local government area town’ on the Internet, inserting the name of your town.
- Why does the application form ask for my gender?
The Commonwealth Government requires us to provide certain statistical information relating to the distribution of funding, including the gender and age of recipients.
- Why does the application form ask my Date of Birth?
We use your date of birth to ensure you meet the age eligibility requirements for funding under the program. The minimum age for recipients is 18.
- I am under 18 years of age – can I apply for funding?
Only persons aged 18 or over are eligible for funding under the DCSI. There may be another member of your household who is eligible to claim the funding.
The Commonwealth Government requires us to provide certain statistical information relating to the distribution of funding, including the gender and age of recipients. When we provide this information, we do NOT provide your identifying details. This information cannot be linked directly back to you by anyone other than Vinnies.
- Why does the application form ask for my occupation?
To be eligible for the funding, your primary source of income must be derived from agriculture, either as a farmer, a farm worker or a farm contractor. We ask for this information to confirm your eligibility for funding.
- Why does the application form ask if I am currently receiving any other form of drought assistance?
The Commonwealth Government requires us to provide certain statistical information relating to the distribution of funding, including whether the recipients are receiving any other form of drought assistance.
This information is NOT used to determine your eligibility for funding under the DCSI program. There is no restriction on your eligibility to receive DCSI Round II funding if you are receiving other funding.
- I am receiving drought assistance from another source – can I still apply for DCSI Round II funding?
Yes, you may apply for DCSI Round II funding. There is no restriction on your eligibility to receive DCSI Round II funding if you are receiving other funding.
- Why does the application form ask how I found out about this round of grant funding?
This information helps Vinnies and the Commonwealth Government determine the most effective means of letting people know about available funding. This information is used to ensure effective communication for future rounds and programs.
- Why does the application form ask a series of questions relating to my financial situation over the last 6 months?
This set of questions are used as a standard measure of financial hardship. We ask these at the time you apply to gain statistical information about the financial hardship being experienced by program participants. We may use this measure again if you agree to participate in a post-program evaluation, to determine the efficacy of the program. Reviews of this nature help Vinnies work out the best way to offer assistance to those in need in the future.
We do NOT use this information to determine your eligibility for funding under DCSI round II.
- Why does the application form ask me to declare whether I am experiencing financial hardship due to the drought’?
It is an eligibility criterion for funding under the program that applicants are experiencing a degree of financial hardship as a result of drought. This declaration provides proof of eligibility.
- Why do I have to declare that no other household member has claimed funding under DCSI round II?
It is an eligibility criterion of the program that only one claim can be paid per household.
- I think there is a legitimate reason for two persons from my household to make a claim. What should I do?
Please contact our Help Desk to discuss your situation further.
- Why do I have to declare that I will refund any duplicate funding to my Household to Vinnies?
The Commonwealth Government stipulates that only one payment can be made per household. If additional payments are made, Vinnies will not receive those funds from the Government. Vinnies offers a number of programs and assistance to those in needs. If a single payment under the DCSI program does not meet your household’s immediate needs, we encourage you to contact our Help Desk to find out about other assistance available through Vinnies and through other agencies.
- Why do I have to declare in the application form that I have not made a claim for DCSI Round II funding through any other agency or charity?
Each household is only eligible for a single payment under the terms of the DCSI round II, regardless of the agency facilitating that payment.
- Why does the application form ask me to consent to being contacted by Vinnies or its agents after the program?
Vinnies offers a vast number of programs and services across Australia. Evaluating each service upon completion helps us tailor our programs to better serve those in need. We really appreciate your participation in the evaluation process and encourage you to agree to be contacted.
It is your choice whether you agree to be contacted and this does not impact our evaluation of your application.
- Why does the application form ask me whether I consent to being contacted by the Government after the program?
The Commonwealth Government would like to evaluate the efficacy of the program upon completion and to do this, they need to be able to contact program participants. If you tick ‘agree to be contacted’, we will provide your name and contact details to the Government for that purpose.
It is your choice whether you agree to be contacted and this does not impact our evaluation of your application.
- Why does the application form ask me whether I would like to hear about other forms of support available to me?
Vinnies offers many different services and programs which may be of benefit to those suffering the impacts of drought. We can also tell you about programs offered by federal, state and local government in your area, and about services offered by other agencies. If you tick this box, a Vinnies member from your area will contact you.
- Is it safe to enter my bank account details in the online form?
All data entered in the form is encrypted when it is in transit over the internet and when it is in our database, to ensure it cannot be accessed by anyone else.
- Why do I have to upload a copy of my driver’s license?
We use your driver’s license to verify your date of birth and address. You must be 18 years old and live or work in a drought-declared Local Government Area to claim funding under DCSI Round II.
- I live in one LGA and work in another. Which will my claim be evaluated under?
If your LGA of residence is included in the list of drought-affected LGAs, (and that LGA is being managed by Vinnies), we will evaluate you in that LGA. If this is not the case, but the LGA where you work is drought-affected, we will evaluate you against that LGA. Please note that, if we evaluate your claim against your work LGA, there is still a limit of one claim per household on your place of residence.
- Why do I have to upload a copy of my rates notice?
We use your rates notice to validate your local government area.
- I do not have a rates notice.
If you are unable to obtain a copy of a rates notice for your place of residence, you will need to provide a copy of the utility bill or the Statutory Declaration available on our website, signed by an eligible party.
- What is a Statutory Declaration?
A statutory declaration is a statement of fact(s) that you declare to be true. It can be used as evidence.
You may use a statutory declaration for a number of reasons including:
- confirming your personal details
- financial matters
If you make a false statement on purpose, you can be charged with a criminal offence.
Full information about statutory declarations can be found here.
- Who can sign my Statutory Declaration?
There are a number of people who can sign your Statutory Declaration. The full list is available here.
- Why do I have to provide a copy of my payslip?
If you are a farm worker, we use your payslip to validate that you derive your main income from agriculture.
- I don’t have a payslip, what can I do?
If you do not have a pay-slip, you can provide a letter confirming your employment and signed by your employer or the person you contract to.
If this is not possible, you can provide a signed copy of the Statutory Declaration available on our website.
- Why do I have to supply my ABN?
We will use your ABN to validate your application, if you are a Farmer or a Farm Contractor. We will check the Australian Business Register to confirm that the ABN is current and that you are an officer of the entity.
- What documents will I need to upload with my application?
You will need to upload a copy of your driving license (as proof of your date of birth and name) and either a rates notice or utility bill (to prove your residential address). If you are a farmworker, you will also need to upload a copy of a recent payslip or a letter from your employer to prove your primary income source.
In all cases, if you do not have the items required, you can submit a Statutory Declaration. We will be adding information to our website shortly, letting you know how to obtain a statutory declaration and what wording you should use.
- What file types can I use to upload my attachments?
You can upload the following file types: .pdf, .jpg, .jpeg, or .png.
- What must the letter from my employer state?
If you do not have a payslip and want to include a letter from your employer, it must include the following information:
- Name of entity (company, partnership, sole trader, etc) who employs you. This could be in the letterhead.
- ABN of your employer.
- Name, Title, email and telephone number of the person providing the letter
- A statement saying what job you perform and how many hours per week you perform that role for.
- If your employment has reduced due to the drought, your employer can make a statement to that effect, for example, “John’s employment was originally full time but since the drought, I have only been able to employ him for 20 hours per week.”
- The signature of your employer.
- What is Pre-Registration?
When the pre-registration link is visible on our website, you can click on it to lodge your application for funding in advance. You will be asked to enter all the information and attachments which will be required during the application process and these will be held in our database. We will send you an email confirming your pre-registration has been received. Once the program commences, we will process your application and you will not have to apply again.
- Why is the Pre-Registration link not always visible?
We are using pre-registration to confirm and improve our systems for processing DCSI applications. If we discover we need to make a change, we may remove the link temporarily while this change is made.
- What is Property Identification Codes (PICs)?
A Property Identification Code (PIC) is a unique eight-character number assigned to a property where livestock are either held or sold. A PIC defines the property spatially, forms the basis of Australia’s food safety and traceability programs, and assists in the identification of properties that may be potentially affected during an animal disease emergency.