More help needed for bushfire victims

More help needed for bushfire victims

Opinion
Bushfires have dealt a devastating blow to about 4500 farm enterprises in the north of NSW.

Bushfires have dealt a devastating blow to about 4500 farm enterprises in the north of NSW.

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Bushfires have dealt a devastating blow to about 4500 farm enterprises in the north of NSW.

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Bushfire recovery grants of up to $15,000 for farmers and small businesses will provide some relief in the recovery effort, but the economic and mental health impact is much broader.

These bushfires have dealt a devastating blow to about 4500 farm enterprises in the north of the state, who were already doing their best to sustain their businesses through one of the worst droughts on record.

The full extent of the impact on our farming and business sectors have not been fully realised yet as these bushfires continue to burn.

Already it is estimated more than 26,000 kilometres of perimeter fencing has been destroyed, which will cost about $300 million alone to replace.

Members have also reported damage to shedding and machinery and horticulture crop and livestock losses.

NSW Farmers will continue to work with the NSW government to assess the full extent of the damage from these devastating fires, and to make a further case to the federal government for additional assistance under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

The federal government has already delivered hardship payments and provided some funding to Blazeaid, and the NSW government has stepped up to ensure fodder and water was made available as quickly as possible.

The latest bushfire funding announcement from the state and federal governments also includes funding for mental health counselling services for victims and volunteers.

Farmers and community members affected by fires have been selfless - they will need support once the crisis is over.

Stories of rural communities banding together to support each other have been inspiring, but like the drought recovery process, there will be challenges ahead and ongoing support from all levels of government will be needed.

  • James Jackson is the NSW Farmers president.
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