Tasman fire: Government boosts funding for farmer support

The Agriculture Minister has announced extra funding to help speed up the recovery of farming and horticultural businesses affected by the Tasman bushfire.

Damien O'Connor said the wildfire and drought conditions have combined to make it a particularly tough time for those trying to manage stock and grow food.

He said a medium-scale adverse event has been declared for Tasman district.

"This unlocks extra funding of $50,000 for the Rural Support Trusts and primary industry groups to help speed up the recovery of farming and horticultural businesses," he said.

"The forecast holds little respite following several weeks of heat and high winds and with water restrictions in place, pastures and orchards are parched," said Mr O'Connor

He said officials have been working with the local trusts, councils, and industry bodies over the past couple of weeks as the dry weather threatened to tip into drought. 

"The fire has further hurt our rural communities with some stock losses, essential access to water restricted, feed destroyed and infrastructure damaged."

He said the acute issue is the management of stock where their owners have evacuated their properties due to the fires.

"The Ministry for Primary Industries is working with vets, the SPCA, fire and emergency and police to help farmers manage their animals or move them until it's safe to return."

Damien O'Connor said the focus remains on getting the blaze under control, cleaning up the immediate damage then supporting the rural sector to get back on their feet for winter.

What is an adverse event?

The Ministry for Primary Industries makes the classification, usually following an approach by the community. There are three adverse events  localised, medium and large-scale. These cover things like droughts, floods, fire, earthquakes and other natural disasters and take into account the magnitude of the event, the ability to prepare for it and the capacity of the community to cope. 

Assistance measures can include:

Resourcing for rural recovery co-ordination.

Resource for on-farm farm clean-up. This could involve the co-ordination of volunteers or the use of Enhanced Taskforce Green.

A boost for the local Rural Support Trust to help serve their communities with pastoral care, including organising local events and arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers and growers.

Technology transfer activities and events.

Other usual recovery measures, which may include tax flexibility and income assistance options, can be made available as appropriate.