Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, has welcomed the announcement of Australian Government grants up to $75,000 for primary producers affected by bushfire.
Funding for the Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program includes an initial $100 million investment.
Mr Joyce said this 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,” Mr Joyce said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government would do whatever it takes to support those communities and businesses hit by these fires.
“I need to stress this is an uncapped program so if demand for support goes above $100 million, money will continue to flow,” the Prime Minister said.
“This funding will support primary producers to access essentials like fodder and water, while also help rebuild fencing or hire vital agricultural equipment like water pumps, irrigation systems, horticultural netting and generators.”
This funding is in addition to the extensive work being undertaken by the Australian Defence Force, clearing roads and properties and helping communities rebuild.
The Coalition Government will also provide $15 million to fund 60 additional rural financial counsellors and support workers.
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. This means farmers that 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.
This assistance will be provided through a joint Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement between states and territories and the Commonwealth Government.
Primary producers who have already accessed the $15,000 grant under the fund can now apply for extra assistance, bringing the total available to $75,000.
This initiative forms part of a $2 billion commitment the Coalition Government has made to address the impact of the recent bushfires.
Recovery grants are available in following LGAs: Armidale, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell, Tenterfield, and Walcha.
For more information on the Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program please contact 1800 900 090 or apply online here.