As part of the Victorian Government’s $5 million drought support package announced on 12 September 2018, $1.2 million is funding a new Drought Employment Program. This program gives drought-affected workers in the Wellington and East Gippsland shires the opportunity to earn an income off-farm by working with local Catchment Management Authorities.

The program

The Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Drought Employment Program employs farmers, farm workers and individuals affected by drought to undertake environmental projects. 

Past experience during the millennium drought and in 2015-17 North West drought, has shown that employment programs have proven effective in using local communities in a paid capacity to undertake environmental projects. At the same time they allow for the acquisition of new skills for future employment outside of farming.


All applicants must: 

  • Reside in one of the eligible locations: East Gippsland and Wellington Shires
  • 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 the East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority for further information, including application details.


The exact details are still being worked through. Opportunities will be provided part-time to make the program available to a larger number of participants.

Types of works

Participants will be directly engaged by their relevant CMA to undertake environmental works such as: 

  • 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.


The program will be delivered by:

  • East Gippsland CMA 
  • West Gippsland CMA
  • North East CMA

An expression of interest process will be run by jointly run by the East Gippsland, West Gippsland and North East CMAs with local employment provider Workways. Once engaged by the CMA, participants will receive practical skills training and development to carry out environmental works to improve land and catchment management health in their regions.

More information

For further information, please don’t hesitate to contact the CMA’s or Workways direct.

  • East Gippsland CMA (03) 5152 0600
  • West Gippsland CMA (03) 5175 7800
  • North East CMA (02) 6043 7600
  • Workways 1800 631 196

See how the Drought Employment Program helped workers during the millennium drought

Read the report (PDF, 4.3 MB) and participants' stories about how the program has helped strengthen our farming community.

Page last updated: 30/10/18