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Government accepts advice on Victorian EC application.



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The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Government accepts advice on Victorian EC application

7 August 2009 DAFF09/299B

The Rudd Government has received advice from the National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) on its assessment of the Exceptional Circumstances (EC) application for the Latrobe and Macalister Irrigation District in Victoria.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said NRAC looked at whether the EC criteria had been met.

“NRAC considered that, while conditions had been below average, there had not been a rare and severe climatic event,” Mr Burke said.

“It concluded that whilst rainfall in the application period was low, it did not fall within the exceptional one in 20 to 25 year range of severely deficient rainfall.”

In addition, NRAC reported that a number of producers had access to irrigation allocations throughout the production season, which somewhat alleviated rainfall deficiencies.

NRAC found that producers’ incomes had been uneven, however it was judged by NRAC to not be representative of a prolonged downturn or necessarily related to seasonal conditions.

“The government has accepted NRAC’s advice not to declare full EC for the Latrobe and Macalister Irrigation District area,” Mr Burke said.

Interim drought assistance will end on 21 August 2009.

“The government recognises that there are some farmers within the Latrobe and Macalister Irrigation District area who have been affected by the Black Saturday bushfires and have been receiving interim EC income support.

“In a pleasing decision today, the government has extended income support for fire affected businesses in the region for a further 13 weeks.

“Farmers who were previously receiving EC support will be eligible for assistance through the fire income support measures.

“The Rudd Government is continuing to help families and businesses get back on their feet as part of the long-term recovery from the fires,” Mr Burke said.

More information about income assistance for bushfire affected businesses is available at www.centrelink.gov.au or contact the Australian Government Victorian Bushfires Hotline on 180 2211 or TTY service FreeCALL™ 1800 810 586.