18 March 2015

AUSVEG is calling for growers in the Carnarvon region of Western Australia to be given additional State and Federal natural disaster recovery assistance in the aftermath of Cyclone Olwyn.

Settlements and farms in the north west of the state have been left reeling after the destructive cyclone tore through the region late last week, wiping out a wide variety of crops and severely damaging both public and private infrastructure.

“Under a natural disaster declaration for the region made on Tuesday, residents and businesses are eligible for some government support as they recover from the cyclone, which is welcome,” said AUSVEG Board Member and local grower Michael Nixon.

“However, given the scale of the devastation we are calling for the level of assistance available under State and Federal Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements to be escalated, to allow horticultural businesses to apply for recovery grants equivalent to those made available to similar operations in Queensland following recent natural disasters, which I understand have been around $50,000.”

“The level of destruction and long term impacts of this cyclone in the Carnarvon region cannot be underestimated, and it is vital that we provide local horticultural businesses and the local community with the correct level of assistance to recover.”

“Particularly due to the prevalence of protected cropping structures in the region, the level of damage to infrastructure is so severe that without the correct level of assistance, many businesses could take years to recover, if they get back on their feet at all.”

AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

The call for greater assistance comes after local residents and growers were left waiting for days for a natural disaster declaration to be made after the cyclone tore through the region late last week.

“Now that the destruction wrought by this event has been acknowledged as a natural disaster it is vital that we give the community every chance of a full recovery by providing the correct level of assistance,” said Mr Nixon.

“In addition to significantly damaging infrastructure, the cyclone wiped out the region’s banana and pawpaw crops, as well as a number of young vegetable crops, including capsicums, tomatoes and eggplants.”

AUSVEG supports Mr Nixon’s calls and is urging authorities to do what is necessary to assist growers and the community in recovering from this devastating setback.



MEDIA CONTACT:  Andrew MacDonald, AUSVEG Manager – Communications.

Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0406 836 330, Email: andrew.macdonald@ausveg.com.au