EC criteria in place for WA package

30 Oct, 2002 10:00 PM

THE state drought assistance package would have similar criteria to Exceptional Circumstances funding, according to Dry Season Advisory Council chairman Dexter Davies.

Mr Davies said the council had sent a list of recommendations to Agriculture Minister Kim Chance. The Rural Business Development Commission would administer the package.

"Broadly, to be eligible growers will have had two years of drought and have suffered a cumulative cash loss in that period," Mr Davies said.

"You must have less than $2 million in equity because we want to be sure that the money goes to those most in need.

"People receiving EC business support ‹ the interest subsidy ‹ will not be eligible."

Mr Davies said DSAC had recommended that the $3.3 million set aside for grants be used for water shortages and feedlots.

"We believe it should be used to ensure water supplies for domestic and stock use, whether that be water carting, cleaning dams, tanks or piping," he said.

"Feedlotting is also a priority. If sheep have to be fed, we have to make sure that there is no land degradation or animal welfare issues.

"The feedlots will be Agriculture Department approved, enclosed on hard land or rock and have adequate drinking troughs.

"And up to $1500 of the grant can be used for financial advice or business advice, or to complete EC applications."

DSAC would also assess whether any areas in WA would be eligible for new EC declarations.

"We are looking at the whole state, not just the agricultural regions," Mr Davies said.

"There is pastoral land north and east of Carnarvon that have not had decent rain for three years and we will see what assistance is available for producers in those areas.

"If they are not eligible for EC, they might be able to access the Farmhelp scheme.

"We will also look at the western edge of the North Eastern Wheatbelt, a small area around Corrigin-Dumbleyung which was knocked back last year and the South East Central Wheatbelt from Lake Grace to Ravensthorpe and towards Jerramungup."

Mr Davies said 35 shires had been included for consideration in the state drought package.

Growers could contact the Agriculture Department for details.

The department had set up a fodder and agistment register and there had been also been offers to donate feed grain.


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