NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson has welcomed the rapid response by the NSW Government to distribute $75,000 grants to bushfire-affected primary producers.
Mr Jackson commended the work of the state government in setting up systems to administer recovery funding from the Australian Government.
“It has been less than a week since the grants were announced by the Prime Minister, and to the credit of the NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA), applications can now be made and claims processed,” Mr Jackson said.
Primary producers will be able to use the grant to cover a range of costs to remove, repair, replace or rebuild essential infrastructure, including fencing, netting, water essential plant and crop salvage. Costs associated with hiring equipment and additional labour costs will also be eligible under the grant.
Mr Jackson said that the fires have had a profound effect on primary producers across many parts of NSW.
“Our farmers in the north have been carrying the costs of removal and recovery since November, and this grant comes at a time when financial resources have been stretched to the limit.”
Farmers in the northern areas who have accessed all or part of the $15,000 Category C recovery grant are also entitled to access the Special Disaster Assistance Grant for a combined total of $75,000 in assistance.
“NSW Farmers is pleased that the NSW Government has committed to streamline and simplify the application process. Recovery from a sudden and intense event such as these fires will take more time than the fires themselves.”
Each farming enterprise will be able to apply for a grant, so farmers with multiple properties may be able to access a grant specific to each property.
“It is pleasing that the $75,000 recovery grants will be available to farmers who have had direct fire impact; however, the fires have also severely affected production on properties that were not directly burnt,” Mr Jackson said.
Road closures and loss of electricity and telecommunications to the fire affected areas has meant that dairy farmers have had to dispose of fresh milk and reduce production, and oyster growers have been unable to harvest.
“As with the small business support package, it is important that Government also support those primary producers who have suffered production losses, despite not being directly impacted by fire damage,” Mr Jackson concluded.