29 June 2010
Farmers in the Bundarra area of New South Wales can now access Exceptional Circumstances (EC) assistance until 2012 after the Gillard Government accepted the independent advice of the National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC).
The decision follows an offer from Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke to the NSW Government to submit a revised application for assistance.
NRAC found an earlier application from the NSW Government did not meet the criteria for assistance.
NRAC recommended the revised application for EC assistance be approved after the NSW Government limited its application to a smaller area of the Bundarra district.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said Bundarra farmers are experiencing some of the toughest conditions of their working lives and the EC assistance will help them with their current circumstances.
Eligibility for EC assistance arises when a rare and severe event is linked to a significant downturn in income extending beyond 12 months that farmers can’t manage as part of their normal risk management practices. NRAC separately found that the three buffer zones did not meet these EC criteria.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke acknowledged that the current drought support system was creating uncertainty among farming families.
“That’s why I announced the start of a new era in drought support through the 12-month trial of a new form of drought assistance that will help farmers prepare for the future instead of waiting for the crisis to happen.,” said Tony Burke.
“The 12 month drought pilot includes support for farming families, farming communities and measures to allow farmers to plan for the future.
“NRAC will also continue to reassess areas against the existing EC criteria as these areas come up for EC renewal, or when fresh EC proposals are submitted by state governments.”
For more information on EC assistance, visit www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought.