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9/02/2015

Support for storm-struck growers

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has written to the Prime Minister, requesting that the state's growers be given equal access to funds, if NSW succeed in their campaign for grants to help pay for storm damage.

In a letter to the Murray Valley Winegrowers, Andrews said the Victorian government supports further assistance for growers whose properties sustained severe damage from storms in early December.

Andrews said the NSW and Commonwealth governments were assessing growers’ eligibility to receive grants under Commonwealth Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery arrangements.

If these are offered to NSW growers, Andrews said he has requested Victorian growers get the same help.

Both NSW and Victoria have given growers access to low interest loans – up to $130,000 in NSW and up to $200,000 in Victoria. However, many were reluctant to take on more debt and have been seeking grants through a Commonwealth scheme to contribute to the cost of repairing the damage left by fierce storms.

The NSW storm on November 22 resulted in an overall damage bill of $30 million while the Victorian event on December 3 caused more than $9 million damage.

Growers wanting advice on applying for concessional loans should contact Sunraysia Rural Financial Counselling Service or Central West Rural Financial Counselling Service.

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