Cyclone recovery grants available for producers

Farmers impacted by Tropical Cyclone Niran encouraged to apply for grants

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Banana grower Charles Camuglia, who lost 100 per cent of his crop, surveys the damage on his farm.

Banana grower Charles Camuglia, who lost 100 per cent of his crop, surveys the damage on his farm.

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Grants of up to $25,000 available for cyclone-impacted primary producers, but growers say the funding falls short of industry expectations.

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Farmers getting back on their feet after Tropical Cyclone Niran wreaked havoc on the far north last month can now apply for recovery assistance grants of up to $25,000.

Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Farmers must have used, or be using, contractors, casuals or temporary staff, who are engaged specifically for clean-up and reinstatement of the enterprise, in order to qualify for the funding.

However, farmers who have used existing permanent field staff for their cyclone clean-ups will not be eligible for the grant.

Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the DRFA Category C assistance would provide financial support to drive the recovery of primary producers in North Queensland.

"Primary producers in these regions have reported between 20 and 100 per cent crop losses, as well as plant machinery and equipment damage," Mr Littleproud said.

"Helping our farmers get back on their feet so they can continue to generate economic opportunities for rural and regional communities is a focus for all governments in Australia.

"That's why the Australian and the Queensland governments have worked quickly and collaboratively to make these $25,000 grants available for repairs to buildings and fencing and to undertake clean-up activities."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the total economic impact on primary producers is estimated at $146 million in the Cassowary Coast region alone.

"While banana growers have been the most heavily impacted, impact assessments have identified significant damage to sugar cane, passionfruit, avocados, production nurseries and other perennial tree crops," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I urge impacted primary producers to contact the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority for more information on how to access the $25,000 grants."

Australian Banana Growers Council chairman Stephen Lowe.

Australian Banana Growers Council chairman Stephen Lowe.

Grants fall short of industry expectations

Australian Banana Growers' Council chairman Stephen Lowe said while all forms of government assistance are welcomed, the disaster recovery grant approval fell short of industry expectations.

"Impacted growers are looking for wage assistance to help retain staff, which was the case following Cyclone Yasi," Mr Lowe said.

"The recent storm damage has been a devastating blow for growers who were already battling ongoing low prices and worker shortages, and now face months without an income stream.

"ABGC hosted another meeting this week for severely affected growers and they were keen for assistance that would go some way towards their long-term recovery."

The ABGC has asked both the Queensland and Australian governments to consider wage subsidy assistance.

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