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Kay Hull has urgently called for Riverina farmers to check their eligibility for Australian Government drought support.



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URGENT URGENT URGENT Message from Kay Hull MP

Nationals Federal Member for Riverina

12th June 2005

Kay Hull has urgently called for Riverina farmers to check their eligibility for Australian Government drought support

Nationals Federal Member for Riverina Kay Hull today reminded the region’s farmers to check their eligibility for Australian Government drought support.

Ms Hull’s comments follow an extension to the 20 May 2005 deadline for applications under the second round of the Government’s Exceptional Circumstances (EC) business support. “There is only 6 days left to put in

your claim”

“Locally, this means producers in Narrandera, Wagga Wagga and the South West Slopes and Plains now have until this Friday the 17th June 2005 to apply for EC business support,” she said.

“Specifically, the extension covers livestock producers in division B and C of the Narrandera Rural Lands Protection Board (RLPB), division A, B and C of the Wagga Wagga RLPB, and crop producers with two failed crops in division C of the Narrandera RLPB, and division A, B and C of the Wagga Wagga RLPB.

“It’s important to note that the extension does not affect the eligibility of these farmers to apply for a third round of EC business support.”

Ms Hull said the 17 June extension was of critical importance to the region’s dry land livestock producers, and crop producers in South West Slopes and Plains who have experienced two failed crops.

“Farmers who have missed out on the previous deadline must apply by Friday 17 June 2005,” she said.

“If they have not already done so, I urge all eligible producers in the Riverina to lodge their applications as soon as possible,” Ms Hull said.

Producers wanting to apply for the EC business support should contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.

Ms Hull also reminded local farmers that the application process has been streamlined.

“The rules under which the States have been operating previously required a

farmer to wait at least 12 months between applications for EC business support,” she said. “Changes by the Australian Government mean farmers can now access the next round of EC business support just nine months after a previous, successful application.

“These new provisions are among a range of improvements introduced by the Australian Government to help farmers battling severe and prolonged drought.

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“On 30 May 2005, for example, the Prime Minister announced a comprehensive support package that will provide an additional $254 million in assistance to drought-affected farmers and their communities.

“As part of this package, the Government has asked the National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) - an independent council of industry and agri-business professionals - to reassess 22 areas around the country where EC assistance has not been extended for third year.

“In the Riverina, this means producers in the South West Slopes and Plains EC area who are not already eligible for assistance under another declaration will be looked at again by NRAC to determine whether they have had sufficient opportunity to recover from the drought.

“NRAC will be visiting the region during the week beginning 20 June 2005, and I encourage local farmers to participate in the meetings as best they can.

Media contacts: Kay Hull 0428 211 591

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For further information please contact 6921 4600.