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8/12/2014

Grants needed for tornado damage

Nearly two weeks on from the tornado that destroyed vineyards in south-west New South Wales, many growers still confront the mammoth task of repairs and clean-up.

Damage inflicted on around 100 properties in the path of the tornado ranged from minor to total destruction of horticultural crops and associated infrastructure, stretching from Yelta on the Victorian side of the border to Gol Gol North in NSW.

In the case of winegrapes, surveys completed jointly by the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Western Local Land Services reveal a crop loss of more than 15,000 tonnes resulting from wind and hail damage.

This equates to a wine region larger than the famed Hunter Valley.

Mike Stone, Murray Valley Winegrowers chief executive officer, said while growers appreciated the prompt action of the NSW Government in declaring an agricultural disaster, giving conditional access to concessional loans, they needed cash to repair damaged trellis and irrigation infrastructure, and to remove fallen trees and debris.

“Growers are desperate to salvage what they can of next year’s harvest, but the clean-up task for many is so big that their ability to meet the deadline imposed by harvest starting in January is under threat,” he said

“The damage report used by the NSW government to declare an agricultural disaster estimated combined losses of almost $30 million over two years.

“Losses for winegrape growers alone are in the vicinity of $5m.

“Assistance is needed, such as that under Category C of Commonwealth Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, which provide clean-up and recovery grants for primary producers.”

ENQUIRIES:

Mike Stone 03 5021 3911 / 0439 037 278

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