16 March 2010
The Australian Government has accepted independent advice on whether to extend Exceptional Circumstances (EC) assistance in five areas of NSW, the ACT, Victoria and Tasmania.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said the independent National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) had reviewed the areas due to expire on 30 April 2010.
Under the current system NRAC considers whether seasonal conditions have allowed the majority of producers to return to typical farm management practices.
The committee recommended EC assistance be extended for two areas and found it should not be extended for three areas.
Mr Burke said the Government had accepted the NRAC’s advice but recognised that many farmers continued to face difficult conditions across Australia.
“The drought continues to place extraordinary pressure on many farming families across Australia,” Mr Burke said.
“We acknowledge the current system is not working for farmers and we are working to finalise details of the new drought support system.
“Under the current system, we wait until farmers are in crisis to step in and help them.
“We want to help farmers before the next crisis hits so they can better prepare for the challenges of the future.”
NRAC’s recommendations on the five EC declared areas are attached and can also be found at www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/ec.
National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) review of five EC declared areas
The government has accepted NRAC’s advice to extend EC assistance in the following areas:
NSW / ACT – extended to 30 April 2011
- Cooma – Bombala – ACT area (including towns of Adaminaby, Berridale, Bombala, Cooma, Delegate, Jindabyne, Nimmitabel and Tharwa)
VICTORIA– extended to 30 April 2011
- Central and East Gippsland Revised area (including towns of Bairnsdale, Cann River, Lakes Entrance, Marlo, Omeo and Orbost)
The Government has accepted NRAC’s advice that conditions have improved and EC assistance should not be extended in the following areas:
VICTORIA– assistance will not be extended past 30 April 2010
- South and West Gippsland area (includes towns of Cranbourne, Drouin, Hastings, Pakenham and Warragul)
TASMANIA – assistance will not be extended past 30 April 2010
- Central Midlands area (includes towns of Bicheno, Bothwell, Campbell Town, Kempton, Orford, Ross, St Marys and Swansea)
- Flinders Island (formally North East and Flinders Island) area (includes towns of Whitemark and Lady Barron)