IT has been revealed more than 1.3 million hectares of farmland is under water, countless livestock has been killed and bumper crops destroyed following unprecedented back-to-back flood events in NSW.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and Local Land Services is urging primary producers to report all damage following weeks of flooding rain.
State Emergency Coordinator Simon Oliver said extensive aerial surveillance was being carried out across the vast area of flooded agricultural land in the State’s central west.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“Over 1.3 million hectares of land is currently under water, and it is only expected to increase as the catchments are saturated and the rain continues,” he said.
“We have conducted aerial mustering and fodder drops to stranded livestock, and these are expected to increase due to the prolonged flood conditions; many areas are expected to remain inundated for several weeks.”
So far, more than 240 landholders have reported stock losses and agricultural damage.
Local Land Services Executive Manager Tim Ferraro said that number was expected to increase “significantly” as flood waters recede and farmers begin returning to their properties.
Mr Ferraro said farmers should report all damage after the region was declared a natural disaster area last week.
“Farmers should report all flood-related damage including stock and fodder losses, and damage to crops, pastures, fencing and other farm infrastructure to their Local Land Services office on 1300 795 299,” he said.
“This will ensure we understand the full extent of the damage and can provide ongoing support where it is needed most.”
Last week, the Australian and NSW governments announced disaster assistance for flood-affected communities across NSW through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
The 21 local government areas eligible for NDRRA assistance include Bathurst, Bland, Blayney, Cabonne, Coonamble, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Cowra, Forbes, Gilgandra, Hilltops, Lachlan, Mid-Western, Narromine, Orange, Parkes, Temora, Walgett, Warren, Warrumbungle, Western Plains and Yass Valley.
Assistance for farmers under the NDRRA includes:
- Concessional interest rate loans of up to $130,000 for those in urgent need. These loans can be used for essential working capital replacement and repair of damage caused to the property and associated improvements. The repayment term is preceded by a two year interest and repayment-free period.
- Freight subsidies for primary producers of up to 50 per cent of the cost of transporting fodder to an affected property and stock to and from agistment. The maximum subsidy available is $15,000 per annum.
- To apply for a concessional loan, grant or freight subsidy, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
- Report any flood-related damage to Local Land Services office on 1300 795 299.