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Spring drought review for southern Australia.

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Media Release

The Hon Mark Vaile MP

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry



23 December 1998


Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mark Vaile, today announced the result s of an independent review of Drought Exceptional Circumstances (DEC) declarations in parts of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania.

Mr Vaile said the review, which examined seasonal conditions during spring and was undertaken by the Rural Adjustment Scheme Advisory Council (RASAC), would see DEC declarations in parts of western NSW revoked.

"Average and above average rains throughout the growing season has meant the central and north-eastern part of the DEC area in NSW's Western Division is no longer experiencing exceptional drought," he said.

"Specifically, this affects the remaining parts of the Cobar, Wilcannia and Hay Rural Lands Protection Boards (RLPB); Balranald RLPB east of the Balranald/Ivanhoe Road; and Hillston RLPB east of the Balranald/Ivanhoe Road and north of the Broken Hill/Ivanhoe railway line.

"During the recovery period, farmers in these areas will still have access to income support for a further 12 months.

"The Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment (ECRP) will help farm families meet their day-to-day living expenses. Youth Allowance concessions will also continue during the recovery period, as will special access to Healthcare Cards and Family Payments.

"Farmers in revoked areas will also continue to be eligible to apply for interest subsidies of up to 100 per cent for carry-on finance, debt restructuring and productivity improvement for six months after revocation, so long as their anniversary date falls within this period."

However, Mr Vaile said the south-western areas of NSW; Monaro regions B and C; East Gippsland in Victoria, and Flinders Island in Tasmania, have not reached this stage and their DEC declarations will remain in place.

Mr Vaile said the areas of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania remaining under DEC declaration would continue to have their circumstances monitored to ensure that assistance was not withdrawn from those who genuinely needed it.

Further inquiries:

Minister’s Office Bruce Mills (02) 6277 7520