29 June 2010
The Gillard Government has accepted independent advice from the National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) on its assessment of a revised Exceptional Circumstances (EC) application for the Eurobodalla ‑ Part Shoalhaven areas of NSW.
The NSW Government submitted a single EC application for the two areas, NRAC considered it more appropriate to assess each area individually.
After meeting with local producers and assessing the two areas, NRAC recommended that EC assistance be made available to the Eurobodalla area until 2012. NRAC found that the Part Shoalhaven area did not meet the EC criteria.
Eligibility for EC assistance arises when a rare and severe event is linked to a rare and severe downturn in income extending beyond 12 months that farmers can’t manage as part of their normal risk management practices.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said that the current drought support system was creating uncertainty among farming families.
“That’s why I announced the start of a new era in drought support through the 12-month trial of a new form of drought assistance that will help farmers prepare for the future instead of waiting for the crisis to happen,” said Tony Burke.
“Under the current system of drawing lines on a map, one farmer could be eligible for assistance and their neighbour across the fence may not be eligible.
“We want to help farmers prepare for future challenges, including climate change, rather than waiting until they are in crisis to offer assistance.”
NRAC will continue to reassess areas against the existing EC criteria as these areas come up for EC renewal, or when fresh EC proposals are submitted by state governments.
For more information on EC assistance, visit www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought.