Supporting Farmers Through Bushfire Recovery

The Victorian Government is backing farmers affected by the ongoing bushfires with additional assistance to keep their farms running and livestock safe and healthy.

Treasurer Tim Pallas today announced that the Labor Government would provide subsidies for primary producers, including apiarists, to pay for emergency farm transport, taking the total of Victorian and Commonwealth recovery payments available to individual farmers to $90,000.

This assistance is being jointly funded by the Commonwealth and the State under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Producers affected by bushfires in Ararat, Alpine, Ballarat, East Gippsland, Glenelg, Golden Plains, Indigo, Mansfield, Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, Southern Grampians, Towong, Wangaratta, Wellington and Wodonga shires will be eligible for the transport subsidy.

The subsidy, to be delivered by Rural Finance, will cover up to 50 per cent of total freight costs, to a maximum of $15,000 (excluding GST) per farm business – with the application period to be open for six months. Applicants can apply for a combination of transport activities under the subsidy.

These subsidies may include transporting of emergency fodder for stock to fire-affected properties, transporting of stock to agistment (including returning stock), sale or slaughter, and transporting of stock drinking water.

Eligibility requirements for a primary producer are based on those that apply for Commonwealth Clean-up and Recovery Grants and Concessional Loans. A maximum distance of 1500km applies to the movement of fodder and stock and 500km to stock drinking water, which must be carted from the nearest practicable source.

The fires in East Gippsland and the Upper Murray region have had a devastating impact on farms and agricultural communities with confirmed stock losses totaling 4,900 to date.

Farmers can also access immediate financial support through the Victorian Emergency Relief Assistance Payment (call 1800 226 226) and the Commonwealth Government’s Disaster Recovery Program (call 180 22 66).

For more information on support available to affected agricultural communities, contact Agriculture Victoria on 136 186 or visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/emergencies/recovery/gippsland-upper-murray-fires

Quotes attributable to Treasurer Tim Pallas

“The immediate costs of protecting stock during a disaster like these bushfires can be immense – we want to help farmers to keep their businesses moving and make sure that their stock is safe and healthy.”

“Agriculture Victoria staff are on the ground in fire-affected areas to support and advise all farmers who need assistance – whether it’s animal welfare, pasture recovery or anything else.”

Quotes attributable to Bushfire Recovery Victoria chair Ken Lay

“Farmers in fire-affected communities have had to face the additional burden of keeping their stock safe and their livelihood intact while protecting themselves and their family from fire.”

“These emergency transport subsidies will help them preserve their business and keep their farms running.”