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Flood damage report informs further funding

Thursday March 21, 2013 - 11:07 EDT

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has prepared a preliminary report on the the effect of last month's floods on the mid north coast's primary producers.

The report has been compiled via information received on the Damage Hotline as well as industry reports and assessments by DPI staff.

The information will be considered by the state and commonwealth governments to determine whether further assistance will be offered to the region.

A series of recovery events involving key support agencies will take place in April at Smithtown, Bellbrook, Kempsey and Port Macquarie's North Shore.

Meanwhile the member for Clarence says assessments of the past two flood events on the north coast are still being looked at by the State Government.

Primary producers and small businesses in Coffs Harbour and the Clarence Valley are eligible for one-off grants of $15,000.

Chris Gulaptis says it generally takes up to two months to process applications, because so many departments need to sign off on the damage.

He says the current process needs to be reviewed, because it's too slow and restrictive.

I think the reporting process has to speed up and I think the criteria of having 20 percent damage across 30 percent of industries is too hard to meet.

"Declaring a local government area the same industry in an adjoining local government area won't receive assistance.

"They need to look at it on a locality basis as well as an industry basis," he said.

Meanwhile the member for Clarence says the number of departments that need to sign off on the reports is partly responsible for funding delays.

Chris Gulaptis says those affected by the February and March floods can expect to wait more than six weeks for recovery grants.

He's calling for the process to be reviewed.

"It's going to take politicians from both state and federal government to come together to review the system with the purpose of making it quicker, making it easier.

"It seems that when there's a natural disaster that occurs overseas, they seem to get assistance far quicker than what our farmers and small businesses do in Australia," he said.


© ABC 2013

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