Give Cyclone-struck Growers More Time To Make Repairs

CANEGROWERS is calling on the State Government to give primary producers impacted by ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper more time to apply for and conduct works under disaster recovery grants.

CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said many growers will not be able to make the government’s 30 June deadline to apply for funding and this is no fault of their own.

“The simple fact is, when this recovery package was announced everybody knew that a six-month window was too short for applications and works,” Mr Galligan said.

“The shortage of contractors, staff and equipment in far north Queensland means growers, often those most severely affected, have been unable to complete repair work.

“If growers can’t find contractors to complete the necessary work, then they will miss out on the government’s deadline and will no longer be able to access those desperately needed disaster recovery funds.”

Mr Galligan said failure to extend the deadline would be another blow, particularly for Mossman growers, who are already doing it tough due to the recent liquidation of their local sugar mill.

“Growers in the region are already struggling and they need to get their farms back into shape. They are anxious about what the future holds for their businesses, their families, and their entire community.

“I would ask the government not to compound that hardship by enforcing this entirely arbitrary deadline. The timeframe should be extended and extended now.

“Many growers suffered considerable damage to farming infrastructure when Jasper hit or in the weeks that followed when flood waters ripped through the community.

“They want desperately to get those repairs completed, but until they can get contractors on site there isn’t much they can do. Growers shouldn’t be punished for circumstances beyond their control.”

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