Mildura Weekly : Friday February 13 2015 Vol 9 No 14
06 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2015 NSW Government says ‘yes’ to cash grants • From Page 3 Under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, the November storms did not meet the minimum trigger of $240,000 in damage to public infrastruc- ture, meaning NSW was unable to make a Natural Disaster Declara- tion at the time, halting the pos- sibility of immediate cash grants being made available. It was a ruling that left lo- cal producers furious, with many voicing their displeasure at a meet- ing with Minister Hodgkinson last month. Minister Hodgkinson. PIC- TURED, said the NSW Govern- ment had written to the Federal Government to request support for the provision of financial as- sistance to the Wentworth Local Government Area, and remained hopeful the Commonwealth would provide support to match the costs to the State. Minister Hodgkinson said that regardless of the outcome of that request, the NSW Government had delivered on its promise to do “whatever we could” to help grow- ers affected by the storm. “At the time we were limited in what we could so, and we had to work with other agencies to explore what help was available,” she said. “We were concerned about the farmers affected knowing how strict the criteria was surrounding Natural Disaster Relief and Recov- ery Arrangements funding. “We wrote to the Federal Gov- ernment and asked if they could help as we were concerned that people would end up with noth- ing. “Knowing that millions of dol- lars worth of exports come out of that region, we were determined to get a result, and have been working for the past four weeks to get some funding out to those af- fected. “It’s pleasing that the NSW Government has made Disaster Reimbursement Grants available to growers.” Sunraysia Citrus Growers chairman,Vince Demaria – whose Mourquong property was one of those severely hit by the Novem- ber storm event – described the announcement as “good news” for local producers. “It’s an announcement that is going to give people encourage- ment, and shows that the NSW Government supports horticulture in this region,” he said. Mr Demaria said while the one-off $10,000 grants wasn’t a “massive amount of money,” it was welcome relief nonetheless. “In the context of what we have lost it’s not a massive amount, but it will help cover some of the clean-up and recovery costs incurred,” he said. “It’s a real credit to those who have made phone calls, written letters and put pressure on the Government to act, and I’m sure growers are welcoming this news.” Mr Demaria said despite the funding announcement, the crite- ria used to determine how grants are made available under Natu- ral Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements needed to change – more specifically the need for $240,000 worth of public infra- structure damage to occur before funding became available. “I think this storm event has been a perfect example as to why the eligibility around Natural Di- saster Relief and Recovery Arrange- ments needs to change,” he said. “I’ll certainly be encouraging ministers to have a good look at it, and ensure that in the future we don’t have another situation where people are left waiting months for relief.” Minister Hodgkinson agreed that the current criteria surround- ing Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements eligibility was “too tough on smaller com- munities.” “The criteria surrounding the NDRRA is a long-standing ar- rangement between the State and Federal Government, and I do be- lieve it needs to be amended,” she said. “Maybe the criteria needs to look at a percentage of public in- frastructure damaged rather than a set dollar amount. “Unfortunately it’s not within the NSW Government’s jurisdic- tion to change, and hopefully the Commonwealth can make those amendments.” More information, or to ap- ply for Disaster Reimbursement Grants, is available by contacting the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593. • From Page 3 Murray Valley Winegrow- ers chief executive Mike Stone said he would be contacting the Premier’s office once again following the NSW Govern- ment’s decision this week. “I’m going to be writing to Premier Daniel Andrews again, given the news that the NSW government has made these cash grants of up to $10,000 now, and will be sug- gesting the NSW government have made good on this, so will the Victorian government move on it?” Mr Stone said. “NSW concessional loans were made available late last year. Victoria made them available in early January after the January 3 storm. The fact Premier Daniel Andrews in- dicated that if the Common- wealth provided grants under Category C assistance would suggest he’d be sympathetic to Victorian growers who also sustained severe storm dam- age.” Premier Andrews’ office was contacted for comment this week. Victorian Govt under pressure to follow suit Deadline for full rates payment approaching FULL payment of 2014/15 Mildura Rural City Council rates is due by this Sunday, February 15, with Council advising that payments will be accepted without pen- alty until Monday, February 16. This deadline applies to those rate- payers who opted to pay in one lump sum rather than by quarterly instal- ments. Rates can be paid using Australia Post Billpay at any post office, by call- ing 131 816, or visiting www.postbillpay. com.au. Rates can also be paid over the telephone or internet using Bpay, with information included on the bill. Ratepayers are also advised that in- ternet or telephone payments made after 4.30pm may not be processed until the next day. Rates can also be paid in per- son between 8am and 5pm using cash, cheque, EFTPOS or credit cards at Coun- cil’s Madden Avenue, Deakin Avenue and Ouyen Service Centres. Anyone experiencing difficulty pay- ing rates is encouraged to contact Coun- cil to make alternative arrangements on 5018 8100. More information about Council rates is available online at www.mildura. vic.gov.au. Large Range of Wrought Iron Wall Art Unique Gift Ideas Fashion Accessories & Clothing Coffee Shop Homewares Beautiful Gift Ideas tif Ideeas eas l Your Health, Beauty & Wellness Specialists TATTOO REMOVAL BEFORE AFTER SPECTRUM Q Switched Laser Tattoo Removal at Visible Effects by Qualified Registered Nurses.
Friday February 6 2015 Vol 9 No 13
Friday February 20 2015 Vol 9 no 15