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Crean to visit areas of South Australia devastated by heavy rains and floods



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, MEDIA RELEASEMinister for Primary Industries and Energyif Simon Crean, MR■ CO;v;MONVv'£AlTHPARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY - ·M IC AHDPIE92/108C 24 December 1992C REA N TO V ISIT AREAS O F SOUTH AUSTRALIA DEV A STA TED BYHEAVY RAINS AND FLOODSThe Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Simon Crean, will visit on Boxing Day areas of South Australia devastated by heavy rains and floods.Mr Crean said the Federal Government was working urgently with State Governments on various options for assistance to farmers."The damage comes as a major blow to farmers in southern Australia, following what was shaping up to be a bumper crop and boost for farm incomes."I am very concerned, and sympathise with those farmers who have been hard hit yet again with adverse circumstances and financial difficulties," he said.The M inister added that there were several mechanisms that could be used to deal with the situation."The first is via the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements (NDRA). In cases of personal hardship and distress, the Commonwealth will meet at least half the State expenditure on the welfare needs of individuals and families," he said."The Commonwealth will also meet other State spending on natural disaster relief on a dollar for dollar basis once a State threshold of expenditure is met. After State spending exceeds 1.75 times the threshold, the Commonwealth will contribute $3 of every $4 of expenditure on assistance."The NDRA. thresholds for 1992-93 are $10.97 million for South Australia, $29.98 million for Victoria and $43.9 million for New South Wales."Mr Crean .said that the second mechanism for providing assistance was through the Rural Adjustment Scheme (RAS).Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600. Telephone: (06)277 7520 Facsimile: (0 6)273 4120

"In exceptional circumstances, causing severe financial difficulties, interest subsidies

of up to 100 per cent can be provided. These subsidies can be used to finance the on­

going operations of the farm, including crop planting," he said. ·

"The cost of RAS interest subsidies are shared between the Commonwealth and the

States. For the first 50 per cent of the subsidy the Commonwealth meets 90 per cent

of the subsidy. Above 50 per cent, the costs are shared equally between the

Commonwealth and the States.

"To activate this mechanism, I will be asking the chairman of the new RAS Advisory

Council, Mr Neil Inall, to provide me with an assessment of the situation and a

recommendation on the level and nature of the support which should be provided to

farmers. .

"The first meeting of the RAS Advisory Council will be in mid January and I will be

asking the Council to prepare a report'for consideration at the meeting, and make

recommendations to me."

Mr Crean said a further mechanism for providing support to farmers, facing severe

financial hardship, would be available in March through the new Farm Household

Support Scheme. Under this scheme, farmers who are unable to obtain commercial

finance to meet family living expenses will be able to apply for financial support

equivalent to the Jobsearch allowance.

Information: Catherine Payne (06) 277 7520 or (018) 174 875.

NOTE: Contact on December 25 (069) 771160.