18 May 2010
The Rudd Government has accepted advice from the National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) that reaffirms NRAC’s previous recommendation not to extend Exceptional Circumstances (EC) assistance for the former Hume EC area of NSW.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said he had referred a second application from the NSW Government to NRAC, requesting a review of the previous decision not to extend EC assistance for Hume beyond 31 March 2010.
Mr Burke said NRAC had considered the second NSW Government application and had reaffirmed its initial recommendation that, based on the updated information available to it, an extension of EC assistance was not warranted.
“We have accepted the advice of the independent NRAC under the existing drought support system,” Mr Burke said.
“However, we recognise that this current system is creating uncertainty within farming communities.
“That’s why 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.
“We believe the new approach being trialled through this pilot will better support farming families. It will also help to prepare farm businesses to ensure the sector is resilient in the face of future challenges, including climate change.”
The drought pilot will be reviewed after 12 months to help develop a new national approach to drought reform.
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/ec