DPI Reports on Hail Damaged Crops

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The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) says a horticulturist is visiting Northern Rivers farms to compile a report on damage from the hailstorm.

The department says initial reports suggest significant damage, the second major blow in a year for many growers.

Phillip Wilk from the Alstonville Centre for Tropical Horticulture says his job is to establish the degree of that damage.

Mr Wilk says he cannot comment on whether there will be any aid package, but he has seen widespread crop devastation.

“There’s a lot of netting damage and fruit damage in a number of crops, nurseries and orchards,” he said.

“My work was really to assess the level of damage to compile a case for that natural disaster declaration.

“I’ve got no idea what will become of this current package and what level of assistance the growers will be given.”

NRMA Insurance says it has received about 700 claims from Byron Bay and the surrounding areas for damage caused by Wednesday’s hailstorm.

The company’s Suzanne Joliffe says most claims relate to vehicle damage and smashed house windows.

She says a storm response team is on its way to Byron Bay and a mobile assessment centre will be operating in the town’s Centennial Circuit tomorrow.

Ms Joliffe says work will be prioritised and claims will be dealt with as soon as possible.

“We’ve put on additional staff into our call centre and we’ll also be setting up a storm response team in Byron Bay,” she said.

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