Today, farmers across southern Australia are continuing to prepare for two days of extreme bushfire danger – ensuring family members, livestock and communities are safe.
“The current bushfire situation is unprecedented and our thoughts are with rural Australians during what will be a very dangerous period,” National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said.
Ms Simson said many farmers had already been impacted by bushfire losing homes, livestock and infrastructure.
“While we don’t know exact numbers yet, there has been a significant loss of livestock in parts of the country, most recently in areas such as northern Victoria and the south coast of NSW.”
“The most impacted sectors include the dairy sector where large parts of the NSW south coast, and north eastern Victoria were impacted and continue to be under threat.
“There are also reported losses in the beef and sheep sectors in upper Murray region of Victoria, lower Riverina and Snowy Mountains areas.”
These areas are also under heightened threat as conditions worsen into the weekend.
Ms Simson paid tribute to all of the emergency service personnel including the amazing Rural Fire Service (RFS) brigades across the country who are helping farmers and rural communities protect homes, livestock and property.
“Many of the volunteers are of course farmers themselves and the commitment, service and courage they have demonstrated makes Australians extremely proud that we have men and women like this in our community.”
Ms Simson said farmers required immediate assistance from governments of all levels to help keep livestock alive.
“Already we have seen the devastation caused by the current severe drought and now we have catastrophic bushfires to deal with, so farmers and rural and regional communities simply must have all of the assistance they need.
“I have been liaising with federal and state parliamentarians and working closely with the NFF’s impacted state members, the Victorian Farmers’ Federation and NSW Farmers, to determine the most pressing needs of affected farmers and how these needs can be met.
“I’m pleased to see the Commonwealth and states working hand in hand in this crisis to deliver much needed aid and this must continue to ensure we get through this dreadful series of events.
“Australia has just recorded its hottest, driest year on record. We need to put politics aside to manage through what are unprecedented conditions confronting our people and our landscape.
“In the first instance we need to ensure we have adequate feed and water available and shelter areas for livestock and other farm animals such as horses.
“Following that, of course we need to make sure we can do everything we can to get our farmers and affected communities back on their feet again.
“We appreciate the relief services are stretched to their limits at the moment to cope with the demand and we thank the community for their ongoing support for our farmers,” Ms Simson said.
There is information and assistance available to farmers and communities seeking assistance in New South Wales and Victoria via the below contact details.
Bushfire assistance contacts and resources are being updated regularly on the FarmHub website see here farmhub.org.au/live-bushfire-assistance-key-contacts/
New South Wales
Landholders impacted by bushfire who require assistance with emergency fodder and water, or with livestock assessment can call the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647 (open between 8am-8pm) or visit www.lls.nsw.gov.au/emergency/bushfires
General information on State recovery assistance services in NSW contact: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/emergency/community/after-an-emergency/natural-disaster-recovery-assistance
Extension of Australian Government Assistance for NSW bushfires. Those worst-hit by the bushfires in Bega Valley, Greater Hume, Snowy Monaro, Snowy Valleys and Upper Lachlan local government areas of NSW, now have access to 13 weeks income support to help get back on their feet.This assistance is being provided through the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DFA).Claims will be open from Friday 3 January 2020. For more information or to make a claim visit www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster or call 180 22 66.
For all fodder requests or fodder donations contact the Victorian Farmers Federation call 1300 882 833.
For all inquiries related to stock loss, contact Agriculture Victoria call: 1800 226 226
Information for assessing fire affected livestock is available via: agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/emergencies/recovery/livestock-after-an-emergency/assessing-cattle-after-a-bushfire
For all other information on assistance and livestock management services contact: agriculture.vic.gov.au/agriculture/emergencies/recovery
Visit farmhub.org.au/ for bushfire assistance information.