Bushfire-affected farmers across the region will continue to receive critical financial support following an extension of the Special Disaster Grant program.
Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said local farmers will have more time to apply for the $75,000 grant, and will benefit from expanded eligibility criteria.
“This program has played a crucial role in keeping local farmers on the land,” Mr Saunders said.
“More than 20 farmers across the electorate, mainly in the Mid-Western area, have already received more than $1.3 million through this program to help cover the costs of repairing and rebuilding infrastructure on their properties.
“By increasing the scope of the grant, farmers who were previously ineligible may now be able to access this critical funding, which is why it’s more important than ever for fire-affected primary producers to contact the Rural Assistance Authority.”
Mr Saunders said the program, which was scheduled to close on July 31, will now be available until December 15, 2020.
“We recognise our farmers have a lot on their plates at the moment, dealing with bushfire recovery and the ongoing drought, Mr Saunders said.
“Everyone is at a different stage of recovery, so giving farmers more time to apply is just one thing we can do to take some of the pressure off.”
Key eligibility changes include:
- Removal of the off-farm income threshold where an applicant’s income from primary production is less than 50 per cent of their total income.
- Allowing extra time for applicants to reach the 50 per cent income threshold in recognition of long lead times required by some sectors to reach full production.
- Applicants are no longer required to be registered for GST but must still hold a valid ABN at the time of the bushfires.
- Businesses earning more than 50 per cent of their income from a combination of primary production and goods made directly from that produce will now be eligible for assistance.
Applications for the Special Disaster Grant can be made via the NSW Rural Assistance Authority (RAA), either by calling 1800 678 593 or online at www.raa.nsw.gov.au.
This assistance is provided through a joint Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement between states and territories and the Commonwealth Government.