National Farmers' Federation

Farmers, are you firewise?

Farmers battle heat and fires

Hot, dry conditions and roaring bushfires continue to affect farmers across many parts of Australia. The continuing heat has affected some horticulture crops, while bushfires have caused significant damage and loss to farmland, livestock and infrastructure. Farmers across TAS, NSW and VIC have been most affected by the fires, which began in TAS three weeks ago. More than 600,000 hectares have been burnt, and some 21,000 stock (including sheep and cattle) lost. In TAS alone, the damage bill to farmers is expected to top $8.2 million.

What assistance is available?

Federal and State Government assistance has been made available to affected farmers and rural communities through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements Those affected by the fires in 51 NSW, five VIC and four TAS local government areas are able to access the assistance – for more information, visit the Federal Government’s http://www.disasterassist.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx[Disaster Assist] website. The state farming organisations have also been providing on the ground support to affected farmers. The Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA) is coordinating the response for farmers in TAS, with donations of fodder, fencing, generators, portable yards, livestock crates, agistment, transport, fuel and volunteer time all sought. If you can assist, please call the TFGA on 1800 154 111 or visit their http://www.tfga.com.au[website]. Meanwhile, in NSW, NSW Farmers has worked with NSW DPI to establish a fodder/agistment register and BlazeAid to set up camps for volunteers to help fire affected farmers. For more information, visit the http://www.nswfarmers.org.au[NSW Farmers], http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/emergency/bushfire[NSW DPI], or http://www.blazeaid.com[BlazeAid] websites.

Where can I go for help?

For more information on the bushfires, contact the respective Rural Fire Service/Country Fire Authority, Department of Primary Industries or the http://www.nff.org.au/our-members.html[state farming organisations] in each state. Rural Fire Services/Country Fire Authorities: For the immediate fire threat: * http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au[NSW Rural Fire Service] or the Bushfire information line: 1800 679 737 * http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au[VIC Country Fire Authority] or the Bushfire information line: 1800 240 667 * http://www.fire.tas.gov.au[TAS Fire Service] or the Bushfire information line: 1800 567 567 For all other states: * http://www.esa.act.gov.au/actrfs[ACT Rural Fire Service] * http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au[SA Country Fire Service] * http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au[WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services] * http://www.pfes.nt.gov.au[NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services] * http://www.fire.qld.gov.au[QLD Fire and Rescue Service] Our thoughts are with those affected by the fires and the incredible firefighters who volunteer their time to protect our farms and communities.

Farmers, time to get firewise

As farmers know too well, bushfires are all too common in Australia over the summer months, and can range in severity, threatening agricultural land and livestock. Bushfires can take an enormous toll on farmers and rural communities, both emotionally and financially. It is important to plan and be prepared for a bushfire. The NSW Rural Fire Service has prepared a Farm FireWise Checklist and Action Plan which helps farmers identify the fire risks on their properties and develop and action plan to address those risks. It also provides hints and tips about reducing fire hazards on farm, information on how to prevent bushfires from starting and advice on the right clothes to wear when fighting a bush fire. Access further information or download the Farm FireWise Checklist and Action Plan via the http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?cat_id=1161[Farm FireWise] page today.

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