A Clarence Valley councillor is calling on the National Party’s federal and state members, Kevin Hogan and Chris Gulaptis, to lobby NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, to bring the NSW Parliamentary Flood Inquiry to the Clarence Valley, so the collective voices of the Northern Rivers primary producers can be heard.
Debrah Novak, who is the president of Clarence Valley Food Inc, said in a media release, “The Northern Rivers is a major food bowl and, so far, we have heard very little about the impacts on our farming sectors who are still calculating their losses.
“The Insurance Council of Australia said the northern NSW and south-east Queensland March floods are the costliest floods in Australian history, with an estimated 3.4-billion-dollar price tag, however, I believe this cost could easily double when they include the cumulative losses incurred by our farming communities across the Northern Rivers region
“The short- and long-term impacts of this apocalyptic scale disaster should not be underestimated, with 4,954 registered primary producers across the seven LGA’s impacted one way or another.
“Many of our primary industries are still recovering from the Black Summer bushfires and these floods have come as a devastating blow.”
Ms Novak said over 6,000 people are directly employed by our Northern Rivers primary producers, “who produce over 65 commodities and inject more than half a billion dollars into the regional economy”.
“Many of these primary producers will be suffering after the March floods, which left very few farmers untouched,” Ms Novak said.
“The fishing industry has had two major fish kills, thousands of kilometres of fencing are missing, paddocks have lost all their winter crops and many farmers have lost their entire plant, equipment and livestock, with unofficial live stocks losses put at 45,000.
“…Many of these same primary [producers], who are family owned and operated, don’t qualify for any grants because they earn off-farm income – it is just another kick in the guts for our primary producers,” Ms Novak said.
“A new report released today by the Insurance Council of Australia, identifies flooding as one of the costliest extreme weather events in Australia, with the Clarence Valley, Lismore and Tweed Heads in the top 10 most at risk LGAs across Australia.”
Ms Novak is urging anyone who is interested in “amplifying the voice of our farmers [asking] to have an inquiry session in the Clarence Valley, to contact the offices of MPs Kevin Hogan and Chris Gulaptis.