Some of the tens of thousands of fish which died in Ballina waters as a result of recent floods.
Some of the tens of thousands of fish which died in Ballina waters as a result of recent floods.

Saffin backs lifeline for fishers

By Alex Easton alex.easton@northernstar.com.au PAGE MP Janelle Saffin wants 12 professional fishers to be paid nearly $190,000 between them to do monitoring and restoration work while the Richmond and Wilsons rivers are closed.

Ms Saffin is backing a submission by the fishers for a six-month contract to do the work while they are cut off from their normal incomes.

The money would cover about one third of their normal incomes and help get the rivers back up to scratch.

The proposal came as Ms Saffin called for extra help for primary producers and for leniency from insurers for people whose homes had been wrecked in the flood.

Ms Saffin said there had been precedents set for both after floods washed over the Hunter region last year, with insurers classifying damage from the floods as 'storm damage' in many instances, which let them cover it, and primary producers given one-off grants worth thousands of dollars on top of low-interest $130,000 loans.

As of last week there were only 119 claims with insurance companies, she said.

Ms Saffin said the Department of Primary Industries was holding meetings for primary producers over the coming weeks with the next ones being at the Kyogle Town Hall, on Friday, and at the%Casino RSM on January 31. Both meetings will run from 11am to 2.30pm. Call Jan Bruce on 6632 1900 for details.



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