Farmers affected by flooding on the North Coast earlier this year have until the end of this month to apply for Natural Disaster Relief Grants, Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, and Minister for the North Coast, Don Page, said today.
The grants of up to $15,000 are available to eligible applicants following the flooding and storms in January and February 2013.
“I remind farmers on the North Coast that they must apply for the Natural Disaster Relief Grants by 30 September 2013,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“The NSW and Australian Governments announced the grants to the 13 local government areas earlier this year, following the flooding which caused widespread damage to crops, livestock and farming infrastructure.
“It is pleasing to note that the NSW Rural Assistance Authority has already approved more than 1100 applications – at a total of more than $16.4 million – but the NSW Government wants to make sure anyone eligible for assistance accesses this funding.”
Mr Page urged farmers to make use of the special government grants in the aftermath of the devastating storms and flooding earlier this year.
“People on the land are pretty stoic – they know these events occur and are prepared to shoulder the heartbreaking and costly task of getting things back into shape,” he said.
“The January-February storms and floods cut a swathe of destruction through the North Coast.
“Along the North Coast, farmers, large and small in all sorts of agricultural activities from bananas and macadamias to specialist organic farmers and dairy farmers have faced huge clean-up bills and the task of repair or replacement of fences, sheds and equipment.
“The money available through these grants will help with many of the costs farmers faced in the wake of the storms.
“Fortunately a large number of farmers have already accessed these grants, which have made a big difference on properties affected by the storms and flooding.”
The grants can be used for the clean-up, removal of debris, disposal of dead livestock, purchasing fodder, re-sowing perennial pastures, assisting with repairs and resumption of trading and further restoration.
Ms Hodgkinson said the grants are in addition to financial and practical assistance which the NSW Government also provided, including low-interest loans for primary producers and small businesses, and transport subsidies.
“Applications can be lodged with a quote or estimate, and one of the eligibility requirements is the farmers’ majority of total gross income must be derived from the farming enterprise,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Application forms can be obtained from the NSW Rural Assistance Authority’s website www.raa.nsw.gov.au or by phoning toll free 1800 678 593.