The Victorian Government is helping communities and farmers affected by drought through the Drought Employment Program. This program gives drought-affected workers across Central and East Gippsland, the Millewa region and Goulburn Murray Irrigations District (GMID) the opportunity to earn an income off-farm by working with local Catchment Management Authorities (CMA).

The program

The Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Drought Employment Program employs farmers, farm workers and individuals affected by drought to undertake a range of environmental and public-good projects. Participants will also have the opportunity to undertake training and gain new transferable employment skills.

Each program is administered by a local Catchment Management Authority in partnership with government agencies and local community groups.


All applicants must: 

  • Reside in one of the eligible locations:
    • East Gippsland and Wellington Shires
    • The Millewa region
    • The Goulburn Murray Irrigation District
  • Have suffered financial hardship as a result of a recent drought event
  • Be prepared to work/travel as a member of a work crew. 

Drought affected farmers, farm workers and individuals should contact their local Catchment Management Authority for further information, including application details.


Participants will be employed in small crews across each region. As well as working on a range of environmental and public-good projects, each participant will undertake tailored training programs to gain new and transferable employment skills.


The program is delivered by:

  • East Gippsland CMA (East Gippsland and Wellington Shires)
  • Mallee CMA (Millewa region)
  • Goulburn Broken CMA (Goulburn Murray Irrigation District)

An expression of interest process will be run by each CMA with the help of a local employment provider. Once engaged by the CMA, participants will receive practical skills training and development to carry out environmental and public-good works to improve land and catchment health and community assets in their regions.

Types of works

Participants will be directly engaged by their relevant CMA to undertake a range of works:  

  • Walking trail maintenance
  • Weed and rabbit control works  
  • Watering revegetation sites   
  • Fencing of rivers and native vegetation  
  • Activities to improve soil health  
  • GPS mapping of weeds
  • Riparian revegetation

Funding will not be provided for:  

  • Off-setting on-farm works as part of a planning approval  
  • Landholders working on their own land  
  • Construction of stock containment areas.

More information

For further information, please contact your local CMA.

  • East Gippsland CMA (03) 5152 0600
  • Mallee CMA (03) 5051 4377
  • Goulburn Broken CMA (03) 5822 7700

See how the Drought Employment Program helped workers impacted by drought

Read the report (PDF, 4.3 MB) and participants' stories about how previous Drought Employment Programs have helped strengthen our farming community.

Page last updated: 06/12/19