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Anderson announces immediate flood assistance.



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21 November 2000 A184/2000

Anderson Announces Immediate Flood Assistance

The Federal Government will make $10 million available immediately to meet emergency needs caused by the devastating flooding in North Western NSW and urgently examine additional assistance for flood-hit farmers.

The Deputy Prime Minister and National Party Leader, John Anderson, announced the Commonwealth assistance as he departed Cabinet for Gunnedah to begin an inspection tour of the flooding, much of which is in his electorate of Gwydir.

Mr Anderson said the flood situation was the first matter discussed in Cabinet and he had given his colleagues a comprehensive overview of the seriousness of the flooding and its impact on the community.

“Cabinet appreciates that the floodwaters are causing serious difficulties for people in their path and has made $10 million available to provide assistance in addition to help given under the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements (NDRA),” he said.

“This fund will give the Government flexibility to respond to urgent local needs.

“Small business will have access to help under the NDRA, but Cabinet also recognises that the paramount concern is the damage this flood has done to farmers.

“Some farmers are facing the complete and absolute loss of their cereal crops, coming on top of the previous two very tough years, and of course, they provide the basis of the North West’s economy.

“In 1998 the North West copped record flooding that severely damaged farm incomes and in 1999 rain did significant damage to the crop as well. This has been an unprecedented run of damaging wet seasons.”

Mr Anderson foreshadowed a federal assistance package to help farmers.

“As I move around the North West over the coming days, I will be talking to farmers and farm leaders about the most practical ways in which the Government can make a substantial contribution to helping farmers plant their next crop.

“Many farmers are now facing a devastating financial position and simply will not have the resources to get another crop in the ground.”

Mr Anderson said an assistance package would need to include two key components:

support for farm families to ensure they are able to put food on the table; ● financial assistance to help farm businesses get the next crop planted. ●

“I will be reporting back to Cabinet next week on the outcome of my discussions and I will be recommending a way forward in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss.”

 

Media contact:

Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680 / 0419 233989

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Tuesday, 21 November 2000