7 December 2010
Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig this morning met with representatives from the Australian Bankers’ Association, National Farmers’ Federation and Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, in Sydney to discuss the recent heavy rains across communities in eastern Australia.
Minister Ludwig said the key theme to emerge from today’s talks was that despite some short term challenges the long term outlook for the industry was positive.
“The Crop Report released today by ABARES shows that despite recent heavy rain, record yields across a number of crop varieties can still be achieved. Whilst some quality downgrades are likely international prices across a number of key commodities remain strong,” Minister Ludwig said.
“The heavy rains have filled dams, locked in soil moisture profiles and produced extensive pastures and livestock feed.
“There is no doubt the recent flooding has been hard on some farmers in particular areas. That is why the Government has been quick to roll out the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements to the areas hardest hit.
“Part of these arrangements includes $130,000 low interest loans available to primary producers in declared areas to assist with essential working capital or replacement and repair of damage to property.
“I urge people to not self assess. Farmers in natural disaster declared areas should contact the NSW Emergency Management Hotline on 1800 227 228 to find out if they are eligible for assistance.
“The Gillard Government will continue to closely monitor the situation and work with affected States to provide assistance to communities affected by the floods.”
Minister Ludwig said Exceptional Circumstances assistance also continues to be available in already declared regions.
“The National Rural Advisory Council is currently preparing independent advice for the Government on declarations that are due to expire in March 2011, and the Government will consider any new applications it receives for EC assistance in accordance with the usual process,” he said.
The Minister thanked the President of the NFF Jock Lawrie and Stephen Carroll from the ABA for their assistance in bringing the meeting together.