FLOOD VIC­TIMS’ STRUG­GLE: Fund­ing sought from Mor­ri­son and State Gov­ern­ment

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page - BY STEVE KELLY [email protected] ne­me­

INDI MP Cathy McGowan will meet with Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son next week in an ef­fort to se­cure fund­ing for vic­tims of last month’s flash flood­ing at Tar­rawingee, Ever­ton and El­do­rado.

Fol­low­ing a meet­ing at Tar­rawingee on Wed­nes­day night politi­cians Cathy McGowan (MHR, Indi) and Tim McCurdy (MLA, Mur­ray Val­ley) have promised to ad­vo­cate for those im­pacted by the floods at fed­eral and state lev­els.

Some res­i­dents have been left with un­in­hab­it­able homes and de­stroyed in­fra­struc­ture such as fenc­ing but are not able to claim dis­as­ter re­cov­ery fund­ing as the event did not meet im­pact thresh­olds.

Ms McGowan will draft up a let­ter with the North East Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (NECMA) and the Ru­ral City of Wan­garatta to take to the Prime Min­is­ter to ex­plore any fund­ing pools that could as­sist the flood vic­tims.

The au­di­ence was told that an emer­gency event needs to have af­fected 33 per cent of a re­gion be­fore it is de­clared a dis­as­ter area, which al­lows pri­vate land­hold­ers to ac­cess dis­as­ter fund­ing.

“I will ask for cri­te­ria to be re­viewed and also if there is any fund­ing that can be ac­cessed now to as­sist the peo­ple who have been im­pacted.”

From a state level Mr McCurdy is push­ing for Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Ja­clyn Symes to come for­ward with gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance, es­pe­cially for re­place­ment fenc­ing.

Coun­cil­lor Har­vey Ben­ton re­ports one farmer has a fenc­ing dam­age bill of $100,000, with some prop­er­ties not cov­ered by in­sur­ance.

Mr McCurdy is con­cerned that although the flood had dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects on lo­cal farm­ers and com­mu­ni­ties, the event does not ap­pear to be wide­spread enough to trig­ger the fed­eral and state fund­ing thresh­olds for grants and low in­ter­est loans.

“It was pleas­ing the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture are ac­tive in pro­vid­ing ad­vice to flood af­fected farm­ers,” he said.

“They pro­vided ex­cel­lent in­for­ma­tion on feed­ing stock and re-es­tab­lish­ing pas­ture, but fenc­ing dam­age and loss is the biggest is­sue that has been raised with me, and so far this has not been ad­dressed by the gov­ern­ment.”

Mr McCurdy said that farm­ing fam­i­lies were al­ready hurt­ing from the dry con­di­tions and now flood­ing woes have com­pounded fi­nan­cial losses.

“As the min­is­ter she (Ja­clyn Symes) does not have to wait for fed­eral fund­ing, she can show lead­er­ship and sup­port these farm­ers with state funds,” he said.

Joint fund­ing from the Com­mon­wealth-State Dis­as­ter Re­cov­ery Fund­ing Ar­range­ments was made avail­able im­me­di­ately af­ter the floods, but this barely cov­ers im­me­di­ate per­sonal costs as­so­ci­ated with dis­as­ter events.

Up to $540 per adult and $270 per child, to a max­i­mum of $1890 per el­i­gi­ble house­hold is avail­able to help with emer­gency food, shel­ter, cloth­ing and per­sonal items.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers can visit the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s Dis­as­ter As­sist web­site, dis­as­teras­, for more de­tails.

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