Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program welcomed by NSW Farmers

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Member for New England Barnaby Joyce and NSW Farmers president James Jackson welcomed Federal Government grants up to $75,000 for bushfire affected farmers from the government’s Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program. Mr Joyce said it was important additional assistance for rural farming families. “Large parts of the New England have been affected by bushfire in recent months and while many areas of our electorate are already eligible for some form of assistance, we are always looking at more ways we can help those in need,” he said. READ ALSO: Mr Jackson said the true cost of the fires, some of which were still burning, would become apparent during the coming weeks and months. “This cost will be emotional, physical and social as well as economic,” he said. “It is evident in the north coast region, where bushfires caused significant damage to farms in November and December. The real cost impact is emerging in that area, with farmers now weeks into the recovery phase.” “While we await further details, it is pleasing that any off-farm income up to $100,000 annually will be exempt from eligibility assessment for the grants. We will work to ensure the delivery of these grants is not held up by red tape and paperwork.” Mr Joyce said further details will be announced as soon as state-based delivery arrangements are confirmed. He said farmers who have been tackling the drought and have off-farm income won’t be disadvantaged, the same off-farm income rules for Farm Household Allowance will apply. It means farmers who aren’t eligible for Category C payments due to off-farm income rules, will still be eligible for up to $75,000 to help them normalise their farm businesses as quickly as possible. Mr Jackson said the government’s commitment to employ an additional 60 rural financial councillors will also be appreciated, as farmers and their families rebuild their businesses and get back to growing the highest quality food and fibre so highly valued by international and domestic consumers. “Support will continue to be valued by primary producers in affected areas. Farmers have lost stock, sheds, fencing, operating plant and many have seen precious hay and feed consumed by the flames,” he said. “Perishable foods, milk and oysters have not made it to market – dairy farmers have discarded milk, oysters have been tainted by a build-up of saline water, grapes have been tainted by smoke, and fruit trees have been burnt. “The generosity of Australians in response to bushfires raging since September last year was inspiring and overwhelming.” Have your say. Click this link to send a letter to the editor.


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