SOS TO OUR PM
FLOOD VICTIMS’ STRUGGLE: Funding sought from Morrison and State Government
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, disasterassist.gov.au, for more details.