Farmers urged to seek flood assistance

By DOMINIC FEAIN dominic.feain@northernstar.com.au NORTHERN RIVERS farmers affected by the recent floods are being urged to submit applications for assistance, and not just presume they are ineligible, Lismore MP Thomas George said yesterday.

“There are reports of people phoning the help lines and being told they are ineligible for assistance,” Mr George said.

“People cannot be properly assessed by phone, and they shouldn’t self-access either.”

Mr George has just returned from Sydney, where he and a delegation of local MPs and industry representatives had a fruitful meeting on Tuesday with the State Minster for Primary Industries, Ian Macdonald.

The delegation urged all affected farmers, especially those requiring immediate assistance for replanting, to complete their disaster assistance applications and send them to the Rural Assistance Authority as a matter of urgency, as the Minister had agreed to give priority to applications where farmers required replanting assistance.

The Minister also advised that he would grant a recovery package of $130,000 over a three-month period to the fishing industry, which included $100,000 to monitor the river and $30,000 for flood remediation works. He also advised that this year’s licence fees for professional fishermen in the Richmond River would be waived.

The Minister also agreed to look at disaster assistance measures, particularly for dairy farmers, who now find themselves in the situation of having to purchase expensive fodder due to their crops being lost.

Issues of damaged laneways and fencing were also raised with the Minister.

“The Minister advised he had been speaking to the Federal Government with a view to extending Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments, as were given to Emerald in Queensland, to affected farmers and communities affected on the Northern Rivers.

“The NSW Nationals have already approached the Federal Government in this matter, and have agreed to support the Minister in his representations to the Federal Government in this regard,” Mr George said.



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