Low-interest loans of up to $200,000 are available for primary producers, small businesses and not-for-profit organisations affected by the Gippsland floods, Premier Ted Baillieu announced today.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan joined Mr Baillieu at Bulmers Farm at Lindenow near Bairnsdale to announce that the Victorian Government had activated the loans.
“Parts of Gippsland experienced record rainfall earlier this week and Gippsland Lakes communities still face a major flood threat,” Mr Baillieu said.
“While a full impact assessment will take some time, it is clear that a number of farms have been inundated and businesses have been damaged, which is why we are activating the loans now.”
Mr Ryan said the loans would provide a boost to farmers and businesses by helping them to meet recovery costs.
“The Gippsland region depends on dairy farms, tourism and other businesses, so it is critical that we help these businesses get back on their feet and support Gippsland’s economic recovery,” Mr Ryan said.
The Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria administers the loans, which are available to farmers and businesses directly affected by the floods.
This assistance for farmers and businesses is in addition to the Personal Hardship Assistance for households which Mr Ryan announced on Tuesday 5 June.
The loans are provided in partnership with the Commonwealth Government under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
State Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said he was pleased that the Premier and Deputy Premier had come to visit the region and see the situation first hand.
“Floods are no stranger to the communities in East Gippsland and we have a resilient population that pitches in and works hard together when needed and this event is no exception,” Mr Bull said.
Victoria has begun the Rapid Impact Assessment process which will provide estimates of the type and value of the damage from these floods.
Clean up and recovery grants under the NDRRA require the approval of the Commonwealth and that approval is based on these assessments.
The Premier also urged families to continue making their travel plans this Queen’s Birthday long weekend, but to plan ahead.
“Victoria has some wonderful places to visit and I encourage people to make the most of this long weekend,” Mr Baillieu said.
“But before you travel, especially if that travel includes flood-affected areas, I encourage you to check relevant websites so you and your family can have a safe journey,” Mr Baillieu said.
Travel information is available at: http://alerts.vicroads.vic.gov.au/, www.ses.vic.gov.au/, http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/park-management/fire,-flood-and-other-closures.
For information regarding flood assistance please call 1300 366 356 or visit www.dhs.vic.gov.au/emergency.
Information and application forms for the low-interest loans are available at: www.ruralfinance.com.au.
Peter Ryan MLA
Member for Gippsland South | Deputy Premier
Minister for State Development | Minister for Regional and Rural Development