Water Week

EWN Publishing

Drought: 38 EC declared areas extended to September 2008 at $340m cost; interim assistance extended to 4000 Western Australian and Tasmanian farmers

Posted by waterweek on 22 September 2007

Prime Minister John Howard announced extended relief for drought-affected farmers, speaking in the Federal House of Representatives on 17 September 2007.

Assurance for affected farmers: Howard said: “Today’s announcement will extend the 38 areas of agricultural production currently EC declared until March 2008 through until September 2008. That will provide plenty of advance warning and assurance to those farmers who are sorely in need of both our understanding and our assistance, although that understanding and assistance and the need for it falls far short of their desperate need for Mother Nature to provide some rain.”

Interim help in Tasmania and WA: “This particular extension alone will cost some $340 million,” Howard said. “I might also inform the House that there are many farmers in Western Australian agricultural zones and in Tasmania outside already declared areas that have experienced low rainfall for the past 18 months and have a less than 50 per cent chance of receiving average rainfall in the next three months. However, they are not currently covered by EC declarations. These farmers are facing the very grim prospect of a second consecutive failed season, so today I have announced interim EC assistance for those further areas of Western Australia and Tasmania.”

Full assistance applications encouraged: “This will provide access to income support to approximately an additional 4,000 farmers in these two states and it will allow the state governments to focus their efforts on completing applications for full exceptional circumstances assistance, which includes interest rate subsidy payments,” Howard said. “Importantly, this will mean there is no delay in payments to farmers while state governments prepare their paperwork. The estimated cost of this additional measure is some $90 million.”

John Howard, Prime Minister, Liberal Party of Australia, Member for Bennelong, House of Representatives, Commonwealth, 17 September 2007 (on Farms)

Erisk Net, 17/9/2007

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