Extra help welcomed ahead of wet summer

NSW Farmers has welcomed extra funding from the state and federal governments to help primary producers recover from floods.

The $100 million Critical Producer Grant Program will help those hardest hit by floods to restore production systems and rebuild essential infrastructure to a standard that will better withstand future disasters.

Applicants will have been required to have applied for the full $75,000 Special Disaster Assistance Grants that were made available earlier in the year and will close on June 30, 2023 – unless allocated funding is fully expended prior to that date.

NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee chair Deb Charlton said it was welcome additional support that recognised the impact on farm infrastructure following the February-March floods, and while it would not cover the full cost of rebuilding, it would provide a path forward.

“All aspects of the agriculture sector were affected – dairy, livestock, broadacre cropping, turf, vegetables, horticulture and perennial tree crops, and the oyster and mussel growers,” Mrs Charlton said.

“The financial pressures following multiple rain and flood events over successive years have left their toll – financially, physically and emotionally.

“It takes time to rebuild and re-establish production after these events, and I know there are many people concerned with the prospect of a third La Nina on the way.”

Mrs Charlton said the farming community had been thankful for government support this year, but acknowledged some frustration with parts of the process.

“We know due diligence must be undertaken to ensure the funding support reaches those most in need, but we are also hearing stories of delays and that can be hard for those in a tough position,” Mrs Charlton said.

“NSW Farmers has been in regular contact with agencies throughout this period and we have encouraged a streamlined assessment so any funding can deliver the support so desperately needed in a timely manner.

“With the same farmers and their communities facing the prospect of a third wet year ahead, it’s critical these processes continually improve to limit unnecessary stress.”