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AUS: EC Support For Farmers In Two Areas

HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

3 AUGUST 1999 AFFA99/5WT

EC Support For Farmers In Two Areas Of Victoria's Mallee Region

Federal Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Warren Truss, announced today that farmers from two areas of Victoria's Mallee region would be eligible to receive Exceptional Circumstances (EC) assistance.

Mr Truss said that the affected areas, which will receive benefits, are Millewa, which lies south and west of the Murray River, and the eastern and southern Mallee. Both areas are described in greater detail below.

The decision follows an independent review by the Rural Adjustment Scheme Advisory Council (RASAC).

"RASAC found that ineffective rainfall during important stages of crop development in 1997 and 1998 resulted in crop failure which in turn led to the worst downturn in farm cash incomes for the past 21 years," he said. "Many of the affected farmers will record negative farm cash incomes for 1998-99."

The Minister said that EC assistance is designed to support farmers whose futures are at risk because of an exceptional event - an event beyond their normal risk management capacities. An exceptional event needs to have a prolonged impact on farm income and production and be at least equivalent to the four or five worst downturns experienced in the region over a hundred years.

"Farmers in these areas of the Mallee are certainly experiencing such difficult seasonal conditions and the Government is keen to help," Mr Truss said. "And the Government is keen to help ensure their businesses remain viable in the long-term.

"With access to EC assistance, farm families are eligible for interest rate subsidies, income support through the Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment and concessional access to a Health Care Card, Family Payments and the Youth Allowance."

"The Federal Government's approval of the application for exceptional circumstance relief payments follows representations from the Federal Member for Mallee, John Forrest, the Federal Member for Murray, Sharman Stone, and the Victorian State Government.

Mr Truss thanked RASAC, which is made up of farmers, graziers and agribusiness professionals, for its deliberations and expert advice on this application.

A list of qualified areas is provided below.

MILLEWA

Millewa is the non-irrigated area of Victoria south and west of the Murray River, and north of the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and the Sunset Country Crown Land.

Its western boundary is a north-south line along Lock 9 Road from Kulnine East to the Sturt Highway, east to Cullulleraine, south along Werrimull North Road to Werrimull then south along Werrimull South Road to the Murray-Sunset National Park.

EASTERN AND SOUTHERN MALLEE

The eastern and southern Mallee is the non-irrigated area bounded as follows:

From Durham Ox on the Loddon Valley Highway west along the Boort-Pyramid Hill Road to Boort, the Boort-Wycheproof Road to Wycheproof and the Birchip-Wycheproof Road to Birchip.

West, then north along the Sunraysia Highway from Birchip to Woomelang. North along Centre Hill Road to the Sea Lake-Lascelles Road then north along Ninda South West School Road to Ninda-Turritt Road, east to Calder Highway, then north to the Chinkapook-Mittyack Road.

East along the Chinkapook-Mittyack Road to Chinkapook. South east along the Chinkapook-Waitchie-Culgoa Road to Chillingollah then east along the Pira-Chillingollah Road to the Murray Valley Highway.

South east along the Murray Valley Highway via Swan Hill to Kerang, then south along the Loddon Valley Highway to Durham Ox.

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