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Government To Roll Out Cash To Drought-Hit Towns

Extra funding for roads and other projects to boost local economies in drought-hit areas will be rolled out in coming months.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to announce hundreds of millions of dollars to support drought-hit communities and farmers.

The latest phase of the federal government's drought support plan, to be unveiled by Morrison on Thursday, will provide funding to flow immediately into projects that boost local businesses and jobs, while meeting social and community needs.

The government will redirect $200 million from the Building Better Regions fund to create a special drought round, providing up to $10 million per project in regional local government areas.

Morrison inspects the dry soil with farmer David Gooding on his drought-affected property near Dalby, Queensland, in September. Image: AAP

As well, up to $138.9 million will be provided via a Roads to Recovery supplementary payment for 128 local government areas in drought, for upgrades and maintenance of roads.

Six more local government areas will be added to the existing drought communities program, which since 2018/19 has involved a commitment of $123 million to a range of job-creation projects.

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More announcements are expected to be outlined on Thursday, building on the work of drought task force coordinator Major General Stephen Day.

Water Minister and Nationals MP David Littleproud said the package would not rely on the states to match it.

Instead, the government wants to see state governments complement the federal package with reduced local council rates and payroll taxes.

Australian farmers will be helped with a cash injection to drought-hit areas. Image: supplied

"We're gonna cut the cheque and we're going to get the money out," Littleproud told Sky News.

"We're not going to play politics, we're going to get on with the job and deliver."

His Nationals colleagues have been calling for $1.3 billion to be spent on drought-affected communities.

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National Farmers Federation chief Tony Mahar said the real fear for the sector was if summer rains do not eventuate.

"Despite rainfall across parts of the country over the weekend, there are still some massive challenges out there," he told the ABC.

"So it's good the government is continuing to listen."