Legislative Council: Thursday, February 09, 2023


River Murray Flood

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (15:11): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister update the chamber on the assistance provided to primary producers affected by the floods?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:12): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest and willingness to provide support for people who are affected by the floods. I am pleased to advise that the commonwealth and state governments, under the disaster recovery funding arrangements, are working together to deploy this assistance measure to support clean-up, relief and recovery costs for primary producers who have suffered direct loss or damage owing to the River Murray floods, with costs associated to immediate recovery activities needed to rebuild their primary production enterprises.

Primary producers play an integral part in local economies and communities, and this assistance will go toward minimising disruption in the affected areas, and assisting with recovery in the affected communities. The assistance provided is available for eligible primary producer businesses located within the Alexandrina Council, Berri Barmera Council, Coorong District Council, District Council of Karoonda East Murray, District Council of Loxton Waikerie, Mid Murray Council, Pastoral Unincorporated Area, Renmark Paringa Council, and Rural City of Murray Bridge council areas who have suffered direct damage from the flooding disaster of 2022-23.

The River Murray Floods Primary Producer Recovery Grant is now open for eligible expenditure on or after 15 November last year. The grant will be available up to a date to be determined by the commonwealth and relevant state governments, having regard to the floodwater levels. Eligible primary producers who have been directly impacted by the River Murray floods may apply for up to $75,000 to undertake clean-up and recovery actions, including removing and disposing of debris, damaged goods and materials, and injured or dead livestock and aquaculture species, and repairing a building or repairing or replacing fittings in a building if the repair or replacement is essential for resuming operation of the primary production enterprise.

The full list of eligibility criteria can be accessed through the River Murray Floods Primary Producer Recovery Grants guidelines available on the PIRSA website. Information for flood-affected primary producers, including how to apply for the River Murray Floods Primary Producer Recovery Grant, is available through the online portal on the PIRSA website.

Information on grants on household, business and primary producer relief can also be obtained by visiting the relief centres or by calling the information line on 1800 302 787, Monday to Friday. The government will continue to support the Riverland region and the communities along the length of the river as the recovery continues.

It has been very pleasing to have so many of my parliamentary colleagues and my cabinet colleagues visiting the Riverland and the Murraylands and, in fact, visiting all of the affected communities. It's something that is also good to see that there has been, on the whole, a bipartisan approach from the local members of parliament in those flood-affected areas. I have been pleased to be able to catch up on a number of occasions at different events with the member for Hammond and the member for Chaffey as well as my office assisting the member for Finniss.

I think when we have these types of disasters it's really important—and it's something the community is really keen to see—that governments and elected members work together and that they won't be trying to play politics on these issues. I think the positive response that we have had from many of the communities has been very encouraging.

In fact, I noticed in I think it was today's Stock Journal that the Mayor of Murray Bridge, Wayne Thorley, commented how pleased he had been with the response from parliament. He wasn't referring simply to government—I want to give the opposition credit where credit is due as well—he was referring to the parliament, so members of parliament who had been out there interacting, engaging with council, engaging with the communities. I also want to thank Mayor Thorley for those very kind words.