The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister that disaster relief payments will be available to flood affected families. NFF President Jock Laurie said the floods have caused widespread damage to communities and farming land, with summer crops completely destroyed in some areas in NSW and Queensland. “Farmers in parts of northern NSW are suffering the effects of a second flood in as many months, while Queensland farmers are experiencing their third major flood in two years,” Mr Laurie said. “At this stage it is still very hard to assess the full extent of the damage. While some communities, like Moree, are now mopping up the damage as water starts to recede, others like Wee Waa remain completely isolated, and others, like St George, are still bracing for the deluge ahead. “It will be some time until the full picture of the extent of the damage can be realised, but what we do know is that the damage bill from the floods will extend into the millions. “Thousands of hectares of cropping and grazing land have been inundated, infrastructure like fences and roads have been badly damaged, if not completely washed away, and summer crops in many areas have been destroyed. At this stage, a clear picture on stock losses is not available, although we do expect that some will not have survived. “The Prime Minister’s announcement today that $1,000 will be available to adults and $400 to children affected by the floods across nine shires in NSW and QLD is a welcome first step – but we predict that much more financial assistance will be needed to help some communities and farmers get back on their feet. “Traditionally, farmers are very reluctant to put up their hands to receive help, but we are urging those affected to access the financial support available,” Mr Laurie said. NFF members NSW Farmers’ and AgForce are continuing to work closely with the Government’s in their respective states to ensure farmers receive the help they require, while the NFF will continue to work with Government on the Federal level. Communities and farmers that require emergency assistance during the floods are encouraged to call the SES on 132 500, while individuals wishing to access flood disaster relief payments are instructed to contact the Department of Human Services on 180 22 66 or visit www.humanservices.gov.au.