How to apply for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme

What is the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS)?

DRAS is a scheme set up by the Queensland Government to help primary producers in the grazing industries manage their livestock resource during drought and to assist in the restoration of that resource after drought. DRAS is administered by the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) in Brisbane.

You may be eligible for DRAS assistance if:

  • you are a property owner, share-farmer or lessee in the grazing industry (horses, beef or dairy cattle, sheep, goats or deer), and
  • your property is within a drought-declared area or has a current individually droughted property (IDP) declaration.

DRAS assistance is not available to hobby farmers.

From October 2013 the following change occurred to DRAS:

  • Where a property owner introduces livestock to a drought declared property from a property under the same ownership but with a different PIC as part of an overall drought management strategy that property will be eligible for DRAS, both the fodder and water freight subsidy and the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.
  • Transport of water for livestock freight subsidy is available for the transport of water for livestock on the stock route network. This measure is a temporary measure for the current drought only.

What kind of assistance can I get under DRAS?

Under DRAS, five types of assistance are available to eligible primary producers.

These subsidies are for the transport of:

  • Transport of fodder freight subsidy
  • Transport of water for livestock freight subsidy
  • Transport of livestock returning from agistment freight subsidy 
  • Transport of animals purchased for restocking after the drought, freight subsidy 
  • Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate

You could be eligible for financial assistance for any or all of these. There are special conditions for each type of assistance.

What are the minimum and maximum payments that can be received under this scheme?

  • The minimum payment for each application is $25. Payment will not be made for any claims under this amount.
  • The maximum you can claim for each financial year is $20,000 per property. This may be extended to $30,000 on approval of your property's drought management plan (PDF, 53.5KB) by the Local Drought Committee (LDC) or up to $40,000 in the third and subsequent years of a drought declaration.
  • The scheme does not allow the splitting of partnerships or properties to access more than the prescribed maximum amount.

How do I apply?

There is a separate application form for each type of assistance. Once completed, these forms must be submitted to DAFF Brisbane central office . Forms are available here or can be posted or emailed to you. Please contact us or call the Drought Hotline on freecall 1800 025 656 from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm (excluding public holidays).

To complete the application form , you must:

  • supply basic identification details about yourself and your property
  • list the details about the transport involved or the type of infrastructure obtained and purchased.
  • sign a declaration dealing with the specific conditions and requirements, and stating that your application complies with the conditions and requirements detailed
  • supply original documentation.

The information required for each type of application is different, so each one is dealt with separately below.

Note: Faxed forms are not acceptable. You must submit the original form, along with original documentation.

How do I apply for the transport of fodder?

This subsidy helps with the cost of transporting fodder to drought-affected stock.

Note: This subsidy applies to the loaded portion of the journey only.

Check your eligibility

You cannot apply for this subsidy unless all the following conditions are met:

  • Your property is individually drought-declared or is located in a State drought-declared area or shire.
  • Your property is used for primary production and you are not a hobby farmer.
  • The fodder is used to feed livestock permanently residing on their home property.
  • The total amount of fodder purchased and on hand does not exceed the minimum amount needed to feed stock for three months after delivery.
  • The fodder is transported from the closest source that is practically available. A distance restriction of 1000 km exists on all types of fodder.
  • The fodder is transported by hired carrier, private vehicle, ship or rail.
  • You make the application within six months of when the fodder was transported.

The 1000 km distance restriction may not apply:

  • where the distance restriction has been extended following recommendation by the Local Drought Committee (LDC) for the area. In such cases, the LDC will recommend a maximum distance on a case-by-case basis. The maximum distance that can be approved by the LDC is 1500km.  Your subsidy will be cut back if exceeding this distance restriction.
  • to grain introduced by the Australian Wheat Board or GRAINCO, by prior arrangement with DAFF
  • to the transport of molasses. However, a 2000 km limit on the combined land and sea transport of this product exists. This distance cannot be extended by the LDC.

This subsidy applies to the transport of:

  • fodder for cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and working and breeding horses, providing they are not normally only hand-fed
  • fodder for commercial horse breeders to feed permanent resident horses. This only applies to the proportion of fodder (as determined by Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries) that exceeds the amount that would normally be introduced
  • grain, hay, urea, molasses (and other Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries-approved supplements) used to feed drought-affected livestock
  • the two major components of the purchased feed from the original point of purchase by the miller/manufacturer to the feed mill fodder purchased from merchants/agents
    • from the point of purchase by the merchant to their premises and,
    • from the merchant's premises to your property.

The subsidy does not apply:

  •  where livestock have been introduced or agisted on a drought-declared property with the exception where older core breeding stock (including bulls at a ratio of 4% to breeders) have been replaced with weaners or where a property owner introduces livestock to a drought declared property from a property under the same ownership but with a different PIC as part of an overall drought management strategy
  • to transport of fodder for commercial and opportunity feedlots
  • to transport of fodder for stock on agistment
  • to any form of production feeding, including feeding of stud stock at above-survival levels. However, fodder used to feed home-bred bulls may be eligible for a 20% freight subsidy
  • where stock numbers are considered by the Local Drought Committee (LDC) to be higher than the average stocking rates of similar enterprises in the area
  • where fodder is transported between properties under the same ownership. This includes properties that are leased by the same individuals, companies or their subsidiaries. However, consideration will be given to applications for movements between properties under the same ownership where they have separate property identification code (PIC) and where fodder supplies are purchased with the management of both properties in mind, and are initially transported to property 'A' and then a portion is moved to property 'B'.

Give all details

Supply details of your property and stock in sections B and C. Do not forget to complete page 3, which is a table where you give details about the transportation.

Sign the declaration

Section D of the application form is a declaration stating, among other things, that your application meets the above conditions. You must sign and date this declaration in front of a witness and have the witness sign it.

Attach all the necessary documentation

Please attach the original documentation. Photocopied or faxed invoices are not original documents, however if you cannot supply the original tax invoice please contact the Drought Relief Assistance Unit (via the Drought Hotline on 1800 025 656) before submitting your application.

If the invoices you received have been sent by the merchant or transport company by email (ie the invoice came as a PDF) and the invoices are printed to send with the application can you provide an accompanying note with the application to note that the invoices have been printed from PDF and no other invoice has been issued to you by the merchant or transport company for that purchase.

Transport by hired carrier

  • Attach original tax invoices for the transportation and purchase of fodder. It is useful if the invoices show fodder descriptions, weights, points of purchase and distance travelled.
  • If you have purchased the fodder directly from the source, attach separate records of freight and material costs.

Note: Companies who own the property and use vehicles from a subsidiary company will be paid at the private carrier rate, not the hired-carrier rate. If your fodder has been donated to you please provide the details (including approximate weight and type of fodder) in a letter and attach to your claim.

Transport by:

  • Private vehicle:
    • Attach original tax invoices for the purchase of the fodder.
    • Complete and sign the private vehicle details at the bottom of page 3 of the application form.
  • Rail:
    • If you are a Queensland Rail (QR) account customer, attach your copy of the consignment note (advice of goods/gate pass), the original QR invoice and your receipt or statement showing payment.
  • Ship:
    • Attach original tax invoices for the purchase and transportation of the fodder.

Current rates of subsidy

These are provided for your information only. You do not have to make the calculations yourself.

Hired carrier

Either 50% of the total freight cost, or the amount calculated from 13 cents/tonne/km, whichever is the lower amount.

Private vehicle

11 cents/tonne/km.

Claims involving merchant/agent or miller/manufacturer

If you are claiming for the transportation of fodder from point of purchase by a merchant/agent to the merchant/agent's premises and then on to your property, you must attach a fodder merchant/agent's statutory declaration (form FM/A 03/03) with your application. 

If you are claiming for the transportation of the grain in the feed mix from the point of purchase to the miller/manufacturer's premises, you must attach a feed miller/manufacturer's statutory declaration (form FM/M 03/03) with your application. The declaration will show the proportion of the grain freighted to the manufacturer that is used in your mix. The freight cost is calculated by taking the weight of this proportion of grain and multiplying it by the freight cost per tonne. Information to calculate this cost comes from the statutory declaration.

Attach all original tax invoices relating to the purchase.

Rail

50% of the cost of transport.

Ship

50% of shipping costs on consignments approved by DAFF.

Note: This does not apply to commercial horse or stub bull breeders, who are eligible for approximately 20% of the cost of the freight.

How do I apply for the transport of water for stock?

This subsidy is to help with the transport of water for livestock. As a temporary measure this includes the transport of water for livestock on the stock route network.

Note: This subsidy applies to the loaded portion of the journey only.

You have to apply monthly for the transport of stock water. The amount of water transported during the month must not exceed the total stock requirements for the next two months.

Check your eligibility

You cannot apply for this subsidy unless all the following conditions are met:

  • No stock have been introduced or agisted on the property during the period of the drought declaration with the exception where older core-breeding stock (including bulls at a ratio of 4% to breeders) have been replaced with weaners or where a property owner introduces livestock to a drought declared property from a property under the same ownership but with a different PIC as part of an overall drought management strategy
  • Your property is used for primary production and you are not a hobby farmer (intensive livestock enterprises are included in the category of primary production).
  • Your property is either individually drought-declared or is in a State drought-declared area or shire.
  • The carted water is for livestock, and not for domestic purposes.
  • (On a drought-declared property) the water has been carted from the nearest practical source to stock-watering points.
  • (In drought-declared areas or shires) the water has been carted from the nearest practical source to stock routes and reserves.
  • (On the stock route network) the water has been carted from the nearest practical source to the location of the stock on the stock route
  • You are making the application within two months of when the water was carted.

Note: The subsidy will not apply in future droughts unless you can show that steps have been taken (since the present drought) to ensure that an adequate supply of water is available for livestock on the property.

Transport of water to stock on the stock route network

Transport of water for stock subsidy for stock on the stock route network only applies if the home property of the stock is in a drought declared area or is a drought declared property. 

A producer can claim transport of water for stock subsidy even if the location of the stock on the stock route network is not in a drought declared area provided the home property is in a drought declared area or is a drought declared property.

Applications for the transport of water to stock on the stock route network are to be completed on the same form as is used for the transport of water to stock on the producers property.  The PIC code to be used on the application is the PIC code where the livestock originated from.

Where water is being carted to livestock on the stock route network which come from multiple properties with different PIC's the producer is to apply for the subsidy for the property where the majority of the stock originate from.

Give all details

Give details of the consignments in section D of the form.

If you transport the water yourself, you must keep a logbook of all consignments of water month-by-month. Use the water cartage logbook sheets (form 223A), which are available from your local DAFF office or contact the Drought Hotline on 1800 025 656.

Transfer the details from your logbook to section D of the application form.

Sign the declaration

Section E of the application form is a declaration stating, among other things, that your application meets the conditions listed above. You must sign and date this declaration in front of a witness.

Attach all the necessary documentation

Please attach the original documentation. Photocopied or faxed invoices are not original documents, however if you cannot supply the original tax invoice please contact the Drought Relief Assistance Unit (via the Drought Hotline on 1800 025 656) before submitting your application.

Transport by hired carrier

Attach original tax invoices for the purchase and transport of the water. It is useful if the tax invoices should include details of the following:

  • the date of transport
  • quantity of water carted
  • distance per loaded trip
  • cost of freight.

Note: Companies who own the property and use vehicles from a subsidiary company will be paid at the private carrier rate, not the hired-carrier rate.

Transport by private vehicle

  • If the water has been purchased, attach original tax invoices.
  • You must keep a logbook of all trips. For each trip, you must record the following on the water cartage logbook sheets (form 223A):
    • date of transport
    • weight of water carted
    • start and finish odometer readings
    • distance per loaded trip
    • number of stock watered.
  • Complete the declaration at the bottom of this sheet, and be sure to include details of:
    • make/type of vehicle
    • vehicle registration
    • gross vehicle mass (GVM).

Current rates of subsidy

These are provided for your information only. You do not have to make the calculations yourself.

Hired carrier

Either 50% of the total freight cost, or the amount calculated from km x tonnes x 13 cents, whichever is the lower amount.

Private vehicle

Calculated on km x tonnes x 11 cents.

How do I apply for the transport of livestock returning from agistment?

This subsidy is to help with the transport costs of returning livestock from agistment back to your property when the drought is over.

This subsidy does not apply where livestock are agisted between properties under the same ownership. This includes properties that are leased by the same individuals, companies or their subsidiaries.

Note: This subsidy applies to the loaded portion of the journey only.

Check your eligibility

You cannot apply for this subsidy unless all the following conditions are met:

  • Your property has been revoked from drought prior to the introduction of any livestock or the stock have been forced from agistment and are returning to the property of origin (please see note below).
  • Your property is used for primary production and you are not a hobby farmer.
  • The agisted stock are returning to the property of origin.
  • The agisted stock belong to you and were grazed on your property for at least three months before their agistment.
  • The stock were sent to agistment either while your property was individually drought-declared or located within a drought-declared area or shire, or sent to agistment in the two-month period immediately prior to declaration.
  • The stock were on agistment for at least two months. (Special consideration may be given if the drought status of your property is revoked within that two months.)
  • The return from agistment followed the most direct practicable route.
  • You are making the application within six months of the return of the agisted stock.

This subsidy applies:

  • to the return movement of all stock (breeders, non-breeders and those animals born while on agistment) in the 12 months after revocation of your drought status. In special circumstances, this can be extended to 24 months following approval by the Local Drought Committee (LDC).
  • for transportation up to a maximum distance of 1250 kilometres. The Local Drought Committee (LDC) may recommend that further distances be subsidised if they consider that suitable agistment could not be obtained any closer to the property of origin.
  • to return movements from the furthest point of agistment to the home property. Where stock are re-agisted to a property that is further away from the home property than the first point of agistment, the subsidy applies to the return movement from the furthest point of agistment to the home property, by the most direct route.

Note: The subsidy does not apply when non-breeders are returned while your property is still drought-declared. When this occurs, access to all subsidies and restocking credits is terminated from the date the non-breeders are returned. However, if these animals, or an equivalent number of animals, are later removed from the property, access to subsidies will be permitted at completion of a 16-week suspension period from the date when the last animal was removed.

However, non-breeders that are returned because they have been genuinely forced off agistment may remain on your drought-declared property for up to one month while further agistment is sought, before the suspension period begins.

Breeders genuinely forced off agistment and returned do not incur the 16-week suspension, provided documentary evidence is presented with the application that indicates why the animals were forced off agistment. This is approved by the Local Drought Committee (LDC) on a case-by-case basis. Freight subsidy may be eligible for these breeding stock if a statutory declaration is obtained from the owner of the Agistment property stating why the agistment is terminated.  No subsidy is payment to the non-breeders.

Breeders not forced off agistment that are returned to your drought-declared property can remain on your property for a maximum of four weeks while further agistment is found, without incurring a 16-week suspension.

Weaners up to six months old can be returned to your property while it is still drought-declared if weaning facilities are not available on the agistment property. A statutory declaration from the agisting property owner is required to support this.

Criteria relating to the movement of animals to your home property and then later re-agisted, should be discussed with DAFF Brisbane central office . (This includes breeders and non-breeders.)

Bulls are only eligible to return to your drought-declared property in numbers proportionate to the total number of females in your core-breeding herd. This is usually in the order of 4%. This subsidy does not apply to the return movement of livestock from a stock route, when those animals were not permanently agisted there.

If your home property is sold during the drought and the animals are returned to a different property, this subsidy does not apply.

Give all details

Give details of the consignments in section B of the form.

Sign the declaration

Section C of the application form is a declaration stating, among other things, that your application meets the conditions listed above. You must sign and date this declaration in front of a witness.

Attach all the necessary documentation

Please attach the original documentation. Photocopied or faxed invoices are not original documents, however if you cannot supply the original tax invoice please contact the Drought Relief Assistance Unit (via the Drought Hotline on 1800 025 656) before submitting your application.

Hired carrier

  • Attach original freight tax invoices for all stock movements.

Attach original tax invoices and original waybills detailing number and class of stock and the date of movement.

Private vehicle

Attach a statutory declaration stating:

  • deck length
  • number of decks
  • number of stock returned
  • date of movement
  • distance travelled from the agistment property.

Attach written evidence of agistment, including:

  • number and class of livestock
  • period of agistment
  • proof of payment of agistment fees.
  • Attach original waybills for the return journey.

Rail

Attach original tax invoices.

Droving

  • Attach proof of agistment (tax invoice, receipt or statement), detailing the period of agistment and number and class of stock.
  • Attach original droving tax invoices or, when you as the owner carry out the droving, a statutory declaration.

Current rates of subsidy

These are provided for your information only. You do not have to make the calculations yourself.

Hired carrier

  • For core breeders and their progeny - 100% of the total freight cost to a maximum charge in line with current average rates per deck approved by DAFF (deck is 12.2 m in length).
  • For the male portion of the herd - 75% of the total freight cost.

Private vehicle

  • Cattle and horses:
    • breeders (120 cents/km/12.2 m deck)
    • non-breeders (90 cents/km/12.2 m deck)
  • Sheep:
    • breeders (67 cents/km/12.2 m deck)
    • non-breeders (50 cents/km/12.2 m deck)

(Other deck lengths are calculated on a pro-rata basis.)

Rail

100% of total freight costs for core breeders and their progeny and 75% for the male portion of the herd.

Droving

75% of the cost of a hired drover to a maximum of the hired-carrier rate for the movement. Where you as the owner drive the stock, the private vehicle rate for the equivalent movement applies.

How do I apply for the transport of animals purchased for restocking after the drought?

This subsidy is to help with the cost of transporting livestock purchased to restock your property when the drought status of your property has been revoked. Only stock purchased from the date of revocation are eligible.

Note: This subsidy applies to the loaded portion of the journey only. This subsidy does not apply to livestock sold to properties under the same ownership. Revocation from a drought status can only occur at an individual property level by an authorised DAFF officer and at the shire or area level by the Minister.

Check your eligibility

You cannot apply for this subsidy unless all the following conditions are met:

  • Your property is used for primary production and you are not a hobby farmer.
  • The stock were purchased after the drought declaration on your property was revoked however breeders may be purchased prior to the drought revocation providing they are held on agistment and return to your property after the drought declaration is revoked.
  • The restocking movement has occurred within 24 months of the revocation of your drought declaration.
  • The introduced stock do not increase stock numbers on the property beyond normal carrying capacity.
  • The stock were transported by hired carrier, private vehicle or rail.
  • The stock were transported by the shortest practicable route.
  • You are making your application within six months of the transportation of the stock.

This subsidy applies:

  • for transportation up to a maximum distance of 1000 km, and
  • to the replacement of 75% of the total number of livestock sold either from your property, from agistment or from feedlots, and from the date of your drought declaration, and in the three months immediately prior to declaration. It is unacceptable, from an animal welfare viewpoint, to allow stock to perish due to lack of feed and/or water. However, it is acknowledged that the humane destruction of sheep may be the only viable option in some generalised and severe drought conditions. To be eligible for restocking credits, property owners must furnish a statutory declaration describing the number of animals destroyed, the date and method of destruction and the method of disposal of the carcasses.  The restocking credits will be calculated at 75% of the total number of animals that have been humanely destroyed on animal welfare grounds.

Give all details

Give details of the consignments in section B of the form.

Sign the declaration

Section C of the application form is a declaration stating, among other things, that your application meets the conditions listed above. You must sign and date this declaration in front of a witness.

Attach all the necessary documentation

Please attach the original documentation. Photocopied or faxed invoices are not original documents, however if you cannot supply the original tax invoice please contact the Drought Relief Assistance Unit (via the Drought Hotline on 1800 025 656) before submitting your application.

Attach original documentation showing proof of purchase:

  • date of purchase
  • number and class of stock
  • place of purchase
  • waybills used to describe stock movements.

Hired carrier

  • Attach original tax invoices.

Private vehicle

Attach a statutory declaration stating:

  • make/type of vehicle
  • vehicle registration details
  • gross vehicle mass (GVM)
  • start and finish odometer readings
  • date of transport
  • number and length of decks
  • distance travelled.

Rail

Attach original tax invoices.

Current rates of subsidy

These are provided for your information only. You do not have to make the calculations yourself.

Hired carrier

75% of the total freight cost applies to a maximum charge in line with current average rates as approved by DAFF.

Private vehicle

  • For cattle and horses - 90 cents/km/12.2 metre deck
  • For sheep - 50 cents/km/12.2 metre deck

(Other deck lengths are calculated on a pro-rata basis.)

Rail

75% of the cost of the consignment

Note: A sheep-to-cattle ratio of 7:1 applies when restocking changes from one species to another.

How do I apply for the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate?

For more information about the guidelines, eligibility and claim process, please refer to the Guidelines for an emergency water infrastructure rebate .

What happens when I have completed my application?

Please post your application to DAFF's Brisbane central office at the below address for certification. The person assessing your claim may need to consult with your Local Drought Committee (LDC) on some issues. Keep a copy of the application for your own reference.

Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry
Land Management Unit
Level 6, Primary Industries Building
GPO Box 46
Brisbane Qld 4001

How long will my application take to process?

It could take up to five weeks to process your application after it has been received in Brisbane.  In most cases applications are paid within 3-4 weeks, however at times of severe droughts with a large proportion of the state drought declared, processing times can be increased dramatically.

The best way to reduce delay is to include all the information that DAFF requires.

How will I be paid?

You can be paid by cheque or by direct electronic transfer into your bank account.

Where can I get further help or information?

Last updated 05 March 2014