$21 million assistance package for flood-affected irrigators
Story Added : 27th April 2011
The $12 million voluntary buyback scheme was announced as part of a $21 million package which also includes funding for strategic levee repairs and case management for irrigators.
Minister for Water, Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said that the government was committed to a long-term plan that will protect communities such as Benjeroop and Kerang by ensuring flood waters have somewhere to go in future events.
“We now know that many of the properties which flooded in January have been built on an active floodplain, which has severely diminished property values,” Mr Walsh said.
“The buyback program, which will be managed by the Rural Finance Corporation (RFC), will reinstate the floodplain and develop a management regime to protect the community in the future.”
Mr Walsh said landholders in the Lower Loddon region would be offered a voluntary acquisition package or compensation as a percentage of the property value to establish covenants on land on active floodplains.
“Land purchased by the state will either become part of the public land estate or resold under a flood overlay,” Mr Walsh said.
“RFC will be responsible for valuations which will be carried out by valuers on the Victorian Valuer General’s panel in accordance with the requirements of the Government Land Monitor.”
A further $5 million is also available to provide individual case management for irrigators in regions severely affected by the floods.
“People need independent advice to give them choice and confidence in recovery decisions as they try to make sense of the flood situation,” Mr Walsh said.
“The recovery funding will provide 700 irrigators within the Torrumbarry, Pyramid-Boort and Rochester irrigation districts with access to a range of flood recovery services, including:
- A one-on-one service to facilitate long-term farm planning
- $2000 grants for irrigators to seek independent advice
- Workshops specifically targeting service providers to improve their knowledge around flood implications and recovery priorities
- Soil salinity surveying to help landholders make sound decisions on where they will get the best return from investing in flood recovery activities
- A further $3.5 million has been set aside for strategic repairs to levees and ground water bores in the Lower Loddon area
“This funding will be used to address short-term repairs needed in the region in case further flooding occurs in the next few months,” Mr Walsh said.