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Farmers welcome EC assistance extension

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The extension of Exceptional Circumstances (EC) for farmers in North East Victoria until March 2007 is good news for farmers.

The announcement this week by the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Peter McGauran applies to the majority of farmers (except irrigators) in areas in North East Victoria currently declared to be experiencing Exceptional Circumstances.

The decision to extend Exceptional Circumstances status follows on from inspection of North East Victoria by the National Rural Advisory Council in mid June and a personal letter from Bill Sykes to Mr McGauran supporting local farmer’s requests for an extension of EC status which was scheduled to end this week.

Dr Sykes said, “Recent rains have given farmers hope but many farmers are still under significant financial and emotional stress from the series of late autumn breaks in North East Victoria.

“In many cases, stock will need to continue to be hand fed for quite a few more weeks at a cost of many hundreds if not thousands of dollars per farm per week”.

Support available includes interest rate subsidies up to $100,000 on loans, assistance with local government rates and for those with severely limited income, income support of up to $741 per fortnight.

Dr Sykes concluded, “I encourage farmers feeling the financial pressure due to the run of tough seasons to contact Centrelink for more information. Any help which is available should be considered as a “hand up” rather than a “hand out”.

Centrelink National Drought Hotline is 13 23 16


Written by Greg Naylor

20 July 2006 at 5:52 pm

Posted in media release

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