24 May 2010
The Rudd Government has extended Exceptional Circumstances (EC) assistance for two South Australian and three Queensland EC-declared regions following recommendations from the independent National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC).
NRAC reviewed seasonal conditions in seven EC-declared regions where assistance was due to expire on 15 June 2010. It recommended EC assistance be extended for five regions and not be extended for two regions.
NRAC found conditions had improved for two areas in Queensland, finding that improved seasonal conditions had given a majority of producers the opportunity to return to typical farm management practices.
These are the Far West region (including the town of Boulia) and Western Downs–Maranoa (including the towns of Wandoan, Surat).
NRAC found assistance should be extended for the following five regions:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA (assistance extended to 15 June 2011)
- Central North East including annex (including the towns of Port Augusta, Whyalla)
- North West Rangelands (including the town of Woomera).
QUEENSLAND (assistance extended to 15 December 2010)
The six-month extension for these areas recognises that while seasonal conditions have significantly improved over the last three months, it is too early to conclude that most producers in the area have had the opportunity to return to typical farm management practices.
- Central Darling Downs Revised (including the town of Tara)
- Northern Darling Downs Revised (including the towns of Miles, Chinchilla)
- South-West Queensland Revised (including the towns of Thargomindah, Quilpie).
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said he recognised that the current drought support system was creating uncertainty.
“Earlier this month I announced the start of a new era in drought support, with a 12-month trial of a new package of measures to be tested in a region covering half of Western Australia,” Mr Burke said.
“The new approach being trialled through this pilot will help farmers prepare for future challenges, rather than waiting until they are in crisis to offer assistance.”
During the trial, NRAC will also continue to reassess areas in other parts of the country 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/ec