19 May 2010
The Rudd Government has accepted independent advice from the National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) on its assessment of an Exceptional Circumstances (EC) application for the Dunedoo region of NSW.
After inspecting the region and meeting with local producers NRAC has recommended the proposed region not be EC declared.
NRAC concluded that while poor seasonal conditions were experienced by producers during spring 2009, there had not been a rare and severe climatic event under the existing EC criteria.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke said he recognised that the current drought support system continued to create uncertainty.
“Earlier this month I announced the start of a new era in drought support, with a 12-month trial of a new package of measures in a region covering half of Western Australia,” Mr Burke said.
“The new approach being trialled through this pilot will help farmers prepare for future challenges, including climate change, rather than waiting until they are in crisis to offer assistance.”
The trial will be reviewed after 12 months to help develop a new national approach to drought reform.
“Importantly, current drought assistance measures will continue for farmers in areas that are EC declared,” Mr Burke said.
NRAC will also 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/ec