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Farmers snubbed by NSW flood assistance announcement



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John Cobb, MP 

Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security  Member for Calare 

 

Farmers Snubbed by NSW Flood Assistance Announcement

Thursday, January 06, 2011

While floods in NSW have been impacting on farmers, rural towns and communities for well over a month, the Prime Minister has waited until an appearance at the cricket in Sydney to announce $15,000 clean up assistance grant for NSW primary producers and small businesses, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, John Cobb, said today.

“I am appalled that the Prime Minister has waited this long for a photo opportunity at the cricket to announce long overdue assistance for flood victims,” Mr Cobb said.

“Not only is it overdue, but it seems NSW farmers and small businesses affected by floods are not as important as their Queensland counterparts who have been offered a more reasonable $25,000 grant.

“Compared to Queensland’s grants of up to $25,000, the $15,000 offered to farmers and businesses in NSW is a disappointing figure and will not provide adequate relief.

“And what has the Gillard Government done to help people in Carnarvon WA badly affected by the floods?

“Incredibly also, the enormous issue of the rain devastation of the eastern grain crop, does not even rate a mention in this latest announcement. Large areas of crops, particularly in northern NSW, will not be harvested at all and the Gillard Government has simply ignored these devastated farmers.

“The Prime Minister must immediately announce additional forms of assistance, such as Exceptional Circumstances and a much needed one off program to ensure these producers will be able to put next year’s crop in the ground.

“This long awaited financial assistance for flooded farmers and small businesses will come as a great relief for many across the eastern states yet it is ridiculous that the Gillard Government has not been able to offer equal assistance to those affected by this natural disaster.

“This is not to say Queensland farmers and businesses do not deserve this much needed assistance, but regional NSW has been left a huge $10,000 short.

“It is disappointing that the 51 Local Government Areas throughout NSW which have been declared natural disaster areas have not been given the same assistance as their Queensland counterparts.

“Ms Gillard’s announcement of flood assistance may be a welcome for flood affected Queenslanders; however farmers and businesses in NSW have clearly been snubbed,” Mr Cobb said.

Contact: Richard Hyett - 0487 250 005