The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council is in the process of establishing a national call centre to help with the distribution of the second round of financial assistance through the Drought Community Support Initiative announced recently by the Federal Government.

National Council CEO, Toby oConnor said one of the great strengths of the Society is its presence in local communities right around Australia.

‘The national call centre is designed to ensure that people who qualify for assistance will get timely, consistent information and advice.

‘It will streamline the lodging of applications and speed the transfer of monies into accounts.

‘Staff in the call centre will work with members and volunteers from 100 Conferences in the relevant Local Government Areas across four states.

‘Members in local Conferences are an essential part of the process, first in alerting eligible people to the new funding, pointing them to the application process and continuing to provide support after this funding is distributed.

‘Farmers, farm workers and farm suppliers who live in one of the 123 Local Government Areas identified by the Government will be able to apply for this assistance from early November 2019 through to June 2020.

‘St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army will be distributing $3,000 to each eligible household.

‘Kits including posters and flyers will be provided to State and Territory offices for distribution to local Conferences.

‘We are currently updating our website to reflect the new arrangements and the 1800 number for the call centre will be advised shortly.

‘We are currently recruiting and hope to open the call centre in the weeks ahead.

‘In the first round of the Drought Community Support Initiative the Society assisted more than 3,700 farming households and delivered $11.2 million in assistance.

‘It is our hope that by being involved in this second round we can continue to offer the pastoral care to people who are feeling the effects of the drought’, Mr oConnor said.

In addition to the funding, the St Vincent de Paul Society is using its own resources to help farmers and others affected by the drought through:

  • help with household bills
  • food vouchers and hampers
  • help with applications for a No Interest Loan for a variety of household items
  • support with community events such as BBQs, dinners and community forums
  • referrals to partner organisations supplying food and water for livestock
  • home visits to provide a shoulder to lean on
  • referrals to an extensive network of other providers to cover all areas of need.

The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic charitable organisation that comprises over 60,000 volunteers and members and over 3,000 employees who provide on‑the‑ground assistance across Australia. The Society is underpinned by the principles of social justice and is committed to identifying the root causes of poverty in order to contribute to their elimination. We provide help to all in need by alleviating suffering and promoting human dignity and personal integrity.

MEDIA CONTACT: Judith Tokley 0408 824 306 / 0400 845 492 or