Australian growers that were impacted by tropical cyclone Niran are eligible for a $25,000 government grant. However, growers say it’s not enough and not targeted towards the biggest issue facing the industry. The grant is restricted to cover building and fencing repairs, as well clean-up activities for primary producers in Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Hinchinbrook, Mareeba and the Tablelands regions.
Grants provided by the jointly funded Commonwealth National Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement (DRFA) can be used for bananas, sugar cane, passionfruit, avocado, production nurseries and other perennial forest farms.
One banana grower– who had to lay off 14 to 15 staff after the cyclone struck in early March – said this grant will only cover about a tenth of estimated losses and do nothing to help cover staff wages.
She also told Tropic that a $25,000 cheque for clean-up and repairs won’t help her Boogan farm, Pacific Coast Eco Bananas, which won’t see an income in the next six months.