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Carnarvon growers wait too long for aid after flood

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Lisa FavazzoMidwest Times
Premier Mark McGowan in Carnarvon to view the flood damage
Camera IconPremier Mark McGowan in Carnarvon to view the flood damage Credit: Facebook / Mark McGowan/Facebook / Mark McGowan

Carnarvon farmers are still waiting for a $1 million assistance package five months after a once-in-a-decade deluge devastated about 20 per cent of local agribusiness in February.

A State Government spokesperson said topsoil would be available to growers in the next three weeks, but voices from the farming community say the wait has been far too long.

Really? Five months. They thought it would be received in a couple of weeks (and) now it’s five months and counting,

said Carnarvon Growers Association operations manager Nic Cuthbert.

For Carnarvon Growers Association president Paul Shain, it’s not just about lost income. He is worried about farmers’ mental health, saying they feel “disrespected” and that “the Government doesn’t care about them”.

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Nic Cuthbert and Paul Shain from the Carnarvon Growers Association with minister Alannah MacTiernan.
Camera IconNic Cuthbert and Paul Shain from the Carnarvon Growers Association with minister Alannah MacTiernan.

The association had started looking into leasing a tenement so farmers wouldn’t have to rely on the Government next time a natural disaster hit the region, he said. “Things need to be pushed through native title, and this will save a lot of time,” Mr Shain said.

“You’ve got to be proactive and think about what your members need.”

The Government spokesperson said: “We remain absolutely committed to delivering replacement topsoil for Carnarvon growers.

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“Unfortunately, sourcing replacement soil has taken longer than expected, after significant heritage and native title issues prevented the State from utilising soil from the initially identified source site.

“A new site has been identified that does not face similar hurdles, and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development advises it should have soil available to growers in the next two to three weeks.”

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