Farmers across Griffith and the Riverina have received some long-awaited good news, with the announcement of significant grants to support recovery after January's hailstorms. NSW Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders visited Griffith to survey Phillip Andreatta's farm and make the announcement that the event has been recategorized to a 'Category D' natural disaster. With the elevation to Category D, those impacted will be able to apply for support funds of up to $50,000 to assist in the recovery.
Saunders explained: "I'm announcing today Category D special grants that are being activated, up to 50,000 to support local growers. It's a pretty important day today, to recognise that we are going to reach out and try to help as much as we can." He added that the money would mean farmers are able to begin work on the recovery.
"The money is to try and help people know that they can start doing work... It's a help-up, not a hand-out. Growers here are resilient people, but it's something you can't prepare for."
Vito Mancini, chairman of the Griffith Citrus Growers Association, has been pushing for more support for weeks: "I do appreciate the DPI for following the process through for us and our growers. [The hailstorm] is something we've never seen before, and to know the department is behind us has been really important to us.”
The grant application portal will be ready to go in the next few days, through the Rural Assistance Authority website.