Assistance for primary producers affected by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia

Media Release

WT046/2015

26 February 2015

Joint release with:

Ken O'Dowd

Federal Member for Flynn

Michelle Landry

Federal Member for Capricornia

Eligible primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations hit by ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia in the local government areas of Banana, Livingstone, NorthBurnett and Rockhampton now have access to low-interest concessional loans and essential working capital loans under the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).

Freight subsidies for affected primary producers in Banana, Livingstone, North Burnett and Rockhampton will also be made available.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the assistance is the result of local Federal Members working together to get action for affected communities.

“Many producers throughout the region have suffered damage to their properties as well as stock and fodder losses, so it's crucial to get them some practical help as quickly as possible,” Mr Truss said.

“These concessional loans will help cover the costs of repairing or replacing damaged infrastructure and equipment and replacing lost livestock, while the freight subsidies will help producers move livestock, fodder and other necessary items.

“The new essential working capital loans were a key election commitment from the Federal Government and will help farmers and small businesses cover the costs of salaries and wages, paying creditors and procuring essential supplies in order to continue operations as they recover.”

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has been working tirelessly to get affected primary producers help as quickly as possible.

“I've been out there talking to farmers and I've seen first-hand some of the devastation on properties throughout the region,” Mr O'Dowd said.

“This assistance is very welcome and I'll work closely with primary producers to help them get the support they need on the ground.”

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia would have a long-term impact on Central Queensland's agricultural sector.

“Some of our pineapple, tropical fruit, macadamia and avocado operations have suffered significant damage, as well as an Emu Park gourmet lettuce producer who supplied to Coles and Woolworths, and it's not just the immediate losses that we are looking at,” Ms Landry said.

“When crops are wiped out, farmers lose mature trees that take years to replace. Some of our primary producers are looking at huge losses and a lengthy recovery period, which will obviously have a flow-on effect on local jobs.

“It is crucial that we provide financial assistance that has an immediate impact, as well as long-term benefits to support producers.”

This support is in addition to NDRRA arrangements announced on Sunday including immediate relief payments to individuals and families of $180 per adult and up to $900 per family in Banana, Livingstone and Rockhampton local government areas.

The Australian Government has also activated the Disaster Recovery Payment for eligible people who have lost or had significant damage to their homes, or suffered injury as a result of the disaster. They can access a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 for each child,

Information regarding the assistance available can be found on the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the Queensland Government's Disaster Management website at www.disaster.qld.gov.au.