Premier Speeds Up Assistance Package For Hardest Hit Areas

Premier Speeds Up Assistance Package For Hardest Hit Areas

Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett

Western Australia Minister for Agriculture & Food Terry Redman

Dry Season Support For Rural Communities

Victor P Taffa

The Liberal-National Government has approved an additional $5 Million Dry Season Assistance Package for Communities in up to 100 Drought-Affected Shires.

Premier Colin Barnett said this was the first phase of State Government measures to help Rural Communities cope with one of the driest winters on Record.

“For a big part of the State it has been the worst season they’ve ever had and this is having a significant impact not just on Farmers, but also on Rural Communities and Businesses.” Premier Barnett said.

“The Government at all levels understands the financial and emotional pressures on individuals, families and communities resulting from the dry season.”

 

The Premier said an important measure in the assistance package was $1 Million for the installation of high-volume water tanks at standpipes.

“The tanks will ensure there is a ready supply of water available in case of bushfires and for emergency stock and domestic supplies.” Premier Barnett said.

Premier Barnett said all Government services would be maintained in affected areas.

“That means essential services like small schools will remain open, school buses will continue to run, and Police, Health and Allied Services will continue.” the Premier said.

“People grappling with the dry season have enough on their plate without worrying about losing services in their town, so it’s very important for the Government to give them that security.”

The Additional Funding Measures Announced Today Include:

  • $2 Million for Community Service Grants;
  • $1 Million Social Support Grants;
  • $1 Million to install High-Volume Water Tanks to assist Fire Response and Water Carting;
  • $500,000 to assist Small Businesses;
  • $200,000 Rural Financial Counselling Support.

Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said the measures were an initial response to help address some of the critical issues confronting rural communities.

“The grants acknowledge and support our farming and rural communities not only in the short term to deal with this very challenging season, but also to ensure their longer-term survival.” Mr. Redman said.

This funding is on top of more than $396 Million already invested in Regional Communities in the 2010-11 financial year.

“This includes support through the Drought Pilot, State Government Royalties for Regions, Men’s Health program and investments through infrastructure commitments and services provided through departments.” Mr. Redman said.

The measures were all recommendations of the Dry Season Advisory Committee (DSAC), which includes representatives from WA Farmers, the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, local government, banks, farm consultants, rural support services and rural women.

Premier Barnett said he had also directed all Ministers and their agencies to look at Capital Works, Maintenance and other initiatives that could be brought forward to provide an Economic Boost to Drought-Affected Areas.

“A taskforce comprising Directors General and Chief Executive Officers of Government Agencies and the Chairman of DSAC will be established to oversee that process, which will be a continuing part of the Government’s Response.” the Premier said.

“One of the first actions of the taskforce to be chaired by the Director General of the Department of Agriculture and Food will be to visit drought-affected areas because the worst affected areas will be targeted first.” Premier Barnett said.

WA Minister for Agriculture & Food Terry Redman

WA Minister for Agriculture & Food Terry Redman