Coffs Coast Advocate

DPI assistance for farmers

STAFF from the Department of Primary Industries are working to help producers affected by the floods in the Coffs Harbour region.

DPI staff are working closely with NSW Farmers' Association to identify recovery issues for rural producers in the areas affected by this week's flooding.

The main priorities are providing assistance with stock disposal on properties where livestock have drowned, and also monitoring local dairy producers.

The DPI staff are there to ensure assistance measures such as access to transport subsidies for fodder are co-ordinated quickly.

DPI staff will also be rostered within the recovery centres which are being established at Coffs Harbour, Urunga and Bellingen. A Rural Assistance Advisory (RAA) officer will also be available locally to help explain available assistance.

The natural disaster declaration covers Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Clarence Valley and Nambucca local government areas, so affected producers are able to apply for assistance.

Under the State Government's emergency response arrangements, the DPI's role is to co-ordinate assistance for agriculture producers and animals.

Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said the full extent of the storm's damage to local agriculture would not be known for several days due to road access restrictions.

The following Schemes are available to Primary Producers under the NSW Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements:

  • Loans of up to $130,000 are available (subject to certain eligibility criteria), at a concessional interest rate of 2.85 per cent, for those in urgent need. These loans may be used to meet carry-on requirements and the replacement of livestock and plant.

Inquiries may be directed to the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.

  • Transport subsidies of up to 50 per cent on the carriage of live- stock, water and fodder are available to help primary producers. The maximum subsidy available is $15,000 per annum.

Producers need to have 30 per cent or more of their property flood affected to be eligible.

Inquiries should be made to the nearest Livestock Health and Pest Authority office.

Flood information is available on the Public Information and Inquiry Line on 1800 227 228.

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