Northern Rivers Business Magazine
The January floods had a devastating immediate effect on local communities, however it is the long lasting impact on small business, tourism and our primary industries that will be felt across the North Coast region for many months to come.
Immediately following the flood and subsequent disaster declaration I led a delegation of local representatives including Don Page MP, Geoff Provest MP, Steve Cansdell MP, Andrew Fraser MP and representatives from the dairy, fishing, oil seeds and cane growing industries to meet with NSW Minister for Primary Industries, the Hon. Ian MacDonald. Each industry detailed to the Minister their particular problems and were given a good hearing.
The Minister advised that he would grant a recovery package of $130,000 over a 3 month period to the fishing industry, which included $100,000 for monitoring the river, $30,000 for flood remediation works and he further advised that licence fees for fishermen in the Richmond River would be waived for the next 12 months.
The Minister also agreed to look at disaster assistance measures particularly for the dairy industry who found themselves in the situation of having to purchase expensive fodder due to their crops being lost.
Other measures have now also been forthcoming, with the Northern Rivers Tourism Industry inc. successfully securing a $600,000 joint recovery package for the local tourism industry and the Federal Government finally offering one-off grants to North Coast small businesses and primary producers, similar to those made to Queensland.
These Natural Disaster Relief Assistance Recovery Grants provide $10.2 million worth of $5000 grants for primary producers and small businesses to assist with clean-up and immediate restoration costs. Further information about these grants is available by calling 1800 678 593.
The best support we can provide to our local businesses and primary producers to help get them back on their feet is to shop locally and choose local produce. I encourage all Northern Rivers Business Magazine readers to provide their support over the coming months.