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Frost damage: Immediate assistance needed

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Growers affected by this week’s frost damage to orchards and vineyards in North East Victoria need immediate confirmation of State Government assistance to recover from this natural disaster according to Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes.

Early reports of losses in excess of $100 million in the Goulburn Valley, Warby Ranges and Ovens and King Valleys come on top of frost damage to tobacco crops earlier this year, low wine prices, and impending drought and last week’s announcement of the end of the tobacco industry which generates $90 million per year to the local economy.

It is estimated that 40% of the King Valley grape crop has been lost overnight.

Dr Sykes said, “It is absolutely critical that the State Government responds urgently by first of all making a natural disaster declaration followed by support such as interest rate subsidies, access to financial counsellors, other support services and creation of appropriate employment opportunities.

“Country people are noted for their resilience but this wave of natural and commercial disasters is way outside normal expectation and as such affected people and communities must be supported emotionally and financially.

Dr Sykes concluded, “I have written to the Premier requesting his urgent action and I and my Nationals colleagues will pursue the issue in Parliament next week”.

Govt moves to help after frost disaster
ABC Online
There are calls for the Victorian Government to declare the Goulburn Valley a natural disaster zone after half of the region’s fruit crop were wiped out by frost yesterday morning. … more

Riverland fruit growers may benefit from Goulburn frosts
ABC Online
The Riverland stonefruit crop appears to have escaped the severe frosts which have destroyed an estimated $60 million worth of fruit in north-east Victoria. … more

Frost devastates fruit harvest
Article from: AAP
THE Victorian Government must declare a natural disaster in the Goulburn Valley after frost devastated the region’s fruit crops, a federal MP said today. … more

Frost-bitten Goulburn Valley no disaster zone
Rick Wallace – Australian
VICTORIAN Premier Steve Bracks has refused to declare parts of the Goulburn Valley region a natural disaster zone after devastating snap frosts have wiped out apricot, pear and other stone fruit crops. … more

Written by Greg Naylor

26 September 2006 at 5:04 pm

Posted in media release

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