Disaster recovery assistance for primary producers MidCoast LGA (overall news) by Dave Brazier - June 17, 2015 Federal Member for Paterson, Bob Baldwin has welcomed an announcement on Monday of additional disaster recovery assistance for primary producers in the electorate of Paterson affected by April storms and flooding. Mr Baldwin said the assistance is being provided under Category C of the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). “I am pleased that after lobbying for my constituents that the State and Federal Governments have signed off on the Category C assistance. This will directly benefit those primary producers in my electorate who are struggling from the financial implications and flow on effects from the April storm,” Mr Baldwin said. Mr Baldwin made representation to the State Government to apply for Category C funding for primary producers in the Hunter region after being approached by a high volume of primary producers in his electorate who are struggling with the financial repercussions from the April storms. Grants of up to $15,000 are now available to eligible primary producers. “I encourage all affected primary producers to contact the New South Wales (NSW) Rural Assistance Authority to discuss their eligibility for these grants,” Mr Baldwin said. “I am glad that this application has been successful. I have spoken with farmers who have lost livestock, produce and equipment and as a consequence have been financially crippled by the April storm,” Mr Baldwin said. “This additional assistance with clean up and recovery costs would help our local farmers to get back up on their feet in the wake of this devastation,” Mr Baldwin said. These grants have been activated in addition to a range of assistance which has already been activated by the Commonwealth and NSW governments to support individuals and families, businesses, primary producers and councils affected by the April storms and flooding. For primary producers, assistance already activated includes concessional interest rate loans and freight subsidies. “The Australian and NSW governments are committed to working together to assist affected communities recover from the devastation caused by the storms and floods,” Mr Baldwin said. To apply for a clean-up and recovery grant primary producers can contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority by calling 1800 678 593 or by visiting http://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/. Information regarding broader disaster assistance available can be found on NSW emergency information website at www.emergency.nsw.gov.au and on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au. State Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington said, “I look forward to learning the detail of the funding announcement because I want to ensure that all primary producers impacted by the storms are able to access assistance, from the cattle and dairy farmers to the mushroom, avocado, nurseries and oyster farmers. “I also want to ensure the process farmers have to undertake to access funding isn’t cumbersome or time consuming.” “After all they’ve been through, local farmers just don’t have the resources to get bogged down in bureaucratic red tape,” said Ms Washington. “The storm itself was very stressful, but the delays in making assistance relief available to farmers have caused more stress and it has been very difficult for primary producers to see people in residential areas get assistance for re-doing driveways and the tourism industry getting a huge injection of State government assistance without even having to establish any demonstrable loss.