EC decision ‘big relief’ for local farmers

November 20, 2008

The announcement that Exceptional Circumstances (EC) funding will be reallocated to the previously expired Central North-North West EC-declared area has been welcomed by politicians and local farmers.

NSW Farmers Barraba District Council chairman, Don Mack told the Advocate the decision was the result of a collective effort of local producers and the NSW Farmers organisation. "We were very pleased but not surprised at the decision," Mr. Mack said.

When the National Rural Advisory Committee members visited the area, Mr. Mack and NSW Farmers members travelled from Yetman through the region, showing the NRAC what conditions were like. "We had a pretty good case, which we presented logically and progressively. We were not surprised, as things were still pretty ordinary, especially in the north of the area.

The area shown on the above map was previously removed from ED funding, a decision which has now been reversed.

 "By working through the channels of NSW Farmers, with its vast network of contacts, our task was much simpler." Mr. Mack said Federal Members for New England, Tony Windsor, and Parkes, Mark Coulton, Senator John Williams, and State Member for Northern Tablelands, Richard Torbay, had all made representations to the government.

The announcement was welcomed by Mr. Coulton. "This is wonderful news for these communities who have been fighting to receive assistance to combat the serious and on-going effects of the drought," he said. "Since these areas were removed from EC funding in early September I have been fighting to have this inequitable and discriminatory decision reversed.