Alan Carpenter

Alan Carpenter

Premier; Minister for Federal-State Relations; Trade; Innovation; Science; Public Sector Management

Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Multi-million dollar drought assistance package for Wheatbelt farmers

    29/08/2007 1:30 PM
     
    29/8/07

    Premier Alan Carpenter has today announced a $9.3million drought assistance package for farmers in the Western Australian Wheatbelt.

    The Premier said the 2007 Dry Season Assistance Scheme (DSAS) would be available immediately and would enable farmers to apply for grants of up to $8,000 to help minimise impacts of the drought.

    “Initially, the assistance package will be available to farmers in the shires of Chapman Valley, Dalwallinu, Koorda, Merredin, Morawa, Mount Marshall, Mukinbudin, Mullewa, Northampton, Perenjori, Three Springs, Trayning, Westonia and Yilgarn,” Mr Carpenter said.

    “Other shires will continue to be monitored as the season progresses and assistance considered if required.”

    The Premier said farmers could use the grants to cover one or a combination of costs incurred in managing the effects of drought. These included:
    • costs for freight on agistment, fodder or water;
    • destocking;
    • improvement of farm water supplies;
    • developing feedlot infrastructure; and
    • access to professional advice or for any other essential farm business expense agreed by the Department of Agriculture and Food.
    Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance said the major objectives of the package were to provide support services to farmers and pastoralists and to assist with the retention of breeding stock, while minimising the risk of land degradation due to overgrazing.

    “Staff from the Department of Agriculture and Food will also continue to work closely with farmers and pastoralists in all areas to provide advice on livestock, avoidance of land degradation, pasture and cropping issues,” he said.

    Mr Chance said the package also included:
    • $500,000 for financial and social counselling services where required;
    • $360,000 for Community Service Grants - grants of up to $5,000 per project were available, with a maximum of two projects per shire. Projects could include sports events, community social gatherings or any appropriate event that assisted in raising community spirit;
    • $200,000 to help small business. Financial assistance of up to $500 would be available to small businesses in affected areas to ascertain their current financial positions. Free advice and information to small businesses on planning, management, business improvement and the regulatory environment would also be provided; and
    • $180,000 for the Social Support Service Grants Scheme - available to social service groups offering counselling and other support services to farmers in the declared shires.
    Mr Chance said the State Government had already started work on a submission to the Commonwealth Government for an Exceptional Circumstances Declaration for areas that would be eligible for support, recognising that some of the identified areas were already within declared Exceptional Circumstances boundaries.

    The DSAS will run until March 31, 2008.

    Information and applications for the DSAS are available by phoning 1800 198 231 or visit http://www.agric.wa.gov.au

    Office of the Premier - 9222 9475
    Office of the Minister for Agriculture and Food - 9213 6700