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West Swan grape grower Mickele Amonini’s vines were flooded in February. Picture: ANITA McINNES

Still time to apply for flood assistance

SWAN Valley grape growers affected by the Swan River flood in February can still apply for financial assistance up until December 4.

The flood on February 11 was proclaimed an eligible natural disaster on February 13 but as reported in No help for grape growers (Echo News, April 6) no grape growers from the City of Swan applied for assistance as the category of assistance available meant only landholders with livestock could benefit from the arrangements.

Help for grape growers at last (Echo News, June 8) reported the federal and state governments had made assistance available through category C recovery grants.

Rural Financial Counselling Service WA counsellor Chris Puckridge said although category C funding did not cover loss of income from destroyed crops it gave some scope for Swan Valley growers to claim on restoration costs and cleanup costs.

“These costs could not be claimed previously so there is real benefit for growers to investigate if they are eligible,’’ he said.

Mr Puckridge said the funding for growers affected by the flood was up to $25,000.

He encouraged grape growers who wished to enquire about the funding to call the service on 1800 612 004.

“We will then arrange for one of our team to visit your property and discuss the specific details, every grower has different circumstances and some will qualify and some won’t so the best thing to do is have an on-property assessment where we can help people with assessing their claim and then applying for the funding if it is achievable.”

The Western Australia Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements is jointly funded by the State and Commonwealth Governments and administered by the Office of Emergency Management with primary producer assistance measures administered by the Agriculture and Food division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

A Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development spokeswoman said there had been five applications from within the City of Swan.

“Three have been approved and funding provided, one application has been declined and one is still under assessment,’’ she said.

Mr Puckridge said the financial service team had helped grape growers complete seven applications since mid August with each application taking about an hour to complete and not requiring too much documentation.

City of Swan chief executive officer Mike Foley said the city provided support during and immediately after the flood, assisting with recovery efforts and holding public workshops for those affected.

“The city also organised a special bulk refuse collection for residents, including grape growers, affected by the flooding which was carried out on May 1.’’

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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