Rotary Drought Initiative 
from Mike Whitehouse, Treasurer RAWCS
 
Rotary was requested by the Commonwealth Government to assist in the distribution of the $30 million, announced in October 2018 by the Prime Minister, for financial assistance to farming families impacted by the severe drought impacting Australia from FNQ to Victoria. This request came in recognition by the Government of the extraordinary effort by the RAWCS eight drought relief projects in distributing $2.4M of the $10.1M raised in the Channel Nine/ RAWCS/NFF appeal.
 
RAWCS received $6.5M of the $30M from the Drought Communities Support Initiative [DCSI], the balance being received by the Salvos and Vinnies.
 
In the period January to May 2019, these same RAWCS eight drought relief projects distributed grants to 3,405 drought impacted families. The logistics of identifying each of these families, assessing they met the criteria and delivering gift cards has been the greatest act of service by Rotary in Australia.  Literally hundreds of individual Rotarians and so many Rotary clubs throughout the drought impacted area have given their best in this Rotary service. The mantra of “Wellbeing not Welfare” resonated as Rotarians visited farming families; “we care, how can we assist, accept gift cards for everyday items such food, fuel, farm supplies and come and join us, with other farming families, for a barbeque”. It was about addressing the issues of mental health resulting from prolonged drought.