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Help for storm and flood affected primary producers

April 2017

Severe weather, including flooding, heavy rainfall, and damaging winds have affected the Local Government Areas in the Tweed Valley, North Coast and Northern Rivers in March 2017.

On the 2 April 2017, Six Local Government Areas; Tweed Shire, Lismore City, Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Richmond Valley and Kyogle have been declared as Natural Disasters.

Our role

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and Local Land Services (LLS) are coordinating and providing recovery assistance and advice to landholders, primary producers, commercial fishers, and other industries impacted by the severe weather.

Where do I go for assistance and further information?

Primary producers who require assistance with livestock welfare, pastures, land management advice, or wish to report damage should contact Local Land Services – telephone: 1300 795 299

Visit NSW DPI’s website for information on a range of topics including feeding and health related issues in livestock, managing flood affected pastures and aquaculture issues.

The information on this page is also available as a PDF download (175KB)

DPI Rural Resilience Officers also provide information on support available for farming families recovering from natural disasters and can connect you to relevant service providers.

If you need assistance please contact:

Jen Haberecht, Coffs Harbour – tel: 0400 160 287
Danny Byrnes, Tweed – tel: 0400 374 258

Natural Disaster financial assistance

As a result of the severe flooding and heavy rain, a number of local government areas have been declared natural disaster zones. Information on a range of assistance measures, including Personal Hardship and Distress assistance, low interest loans and transport subsidies are available at the NSW Government Emergency website.

The Rural Assistance Authority

The Rural Assistance Authority (RAA) Natural Disaster Relief Scheme assists primary producers (including commercial fishers and oyster growers), small business operators, non-profit organisations and sporting and recreational clubs affected by flood/fire/storm damage or other declared natural disasters. For the most recent information or to download forms contact the RAA – tel: 1800 678 593 or visit the RAA website.

Available assistance

  • Disaster relief loans of up to $130,000 are available, subject to certain eligibility criteria, at a concessional interest rate for those in urgent need. These loans may be used for essential working capital, replacement and repair of damage caused to the property and associated improvements not covered by insurance. The repayment term is preceded by a two year interest and repayment free period. Claims must be lodged within six months of the declared date of the disaster.
  • Transport subsidies of up to 50% of the cost of transporting fodder and/or water to an affected property and stock to/from agistment are available. These rebates apply to primary producers in areas affected by the storm/floods, subject to eligibility criteria. Maximum subsidy available is $15,000 per annum. Claims must be submitted no more than six months after first movement.

Submit all claim forms to the Rural Assistance Authority with invoices, receipts and other documentation.

Personal Hardship and Distress Assistance

The Office of Emergency Management

Can provide disaster relief grants to eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household items have been destroyed or damaged by a natural disaster. People with limited financial resources and no insurance may be eligible for assistance for essential household items and structural repairs to the home.

For information about the disaster relief grants and the eligibility criteria call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line – tel: 1800 018 444.

Rural Financial Counselling Services (RFCS)

The Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW Northern Region (RFCS NSW-NR) provides free and impartial rural financial counselling to eligible primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses who are suffering financial hardship, and who have no alternative sources of impartial support, to manage the challenges of change and adjustment.

Steve Sibley, Casino Rural Financial Counsellor – tel: 02 6662 6191
Ross Turvey – tel: 02 6662 6191

Farm Household Support

The Federal Government Department of Human Services provides help for farmers and their families experiencing financial hardship. To be eligible:

  • you must be a farmer or the partner of a farmer. If you are the farmer you must contribute a significant part of your labour and capital to the farm enterprise based on specific criteria
  • meet an income and assets test
  • be willing to undertake a Farm Financial Assessment
  • be willing to enter into a Financial Improvement Agreement to help you improve your financial circumstances


David Parsons – tel: 02 6660 2013 (based at Casino)
Cathy Curan – tel: 02 6648 6695 (based at Coffs Harbour)

Family and Community Services

Family and Community Services offer the following services:

  • Housing NSW – tel:1800 152 152. Private rental bond assistance, temporary accommodation and housing assistance
  • Rentstart Bond assistance – tel:1300 468 746
  • Community services – tel:132 111
  • Ageing Disability and Homecare – tel:1300 134 450

Emotional Support

Mental Health and Wellbeing

For access to local mental health services contact the organisations listed below.

Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) provides a range of information services to individuals, communities and service providers to link rural and remote people to the help they need. This includes information on where to access services, common mental illnesses and how to keep mentally healthy, as well as the Glove Box Guide to Mental Health.

Steve Carigg – tel: 0477 368 183

Mental Health Line

If you call this number a mental health clinician will answer and take your details. They will ask you the reason for your call and help you work out what to do next. Each phone call is managed according to the caller’s needs.

This number is available 24 hrs a day, seven days a week – tel: 1800 0110511

Beyond Blue (24 hours) – tel:1300 224 636

Mensline (24 hrs) – tel:1300 789 978

Way Ahead (Mon-Fr 9am–5pm) Information, telephone support and referral on issues relating to mental health generally – tel:1300 794 991

Kids Helpline – tel:1800 551 800

Other assistance

Births, Deaths and Marriages

Free replacement of:

* Birth Certificates

* Marriage Certificates

* Change of name certificates

Contact: Michelle Gould

Tel: (02) 9035 6411

Motor Vehicle Stamp Duty Relief

Motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of a natural disaster may be eligible for a stamp duty refund on their replacement vehicle. Refunds are made where the written off vehicle was comprehensively insured and the insurance does not cover duty for a replacement vehicle.

Contact: Office of State Revenue

Tel: 1300 139 814.

Insurance Council of Australia

If you have a query relating to insurance.

Tel: 1300 444 557

Legal Assistance

Legal Aid NSW helps people with their legal problems. Legal Aid NSW lawyers can provide free legal advice and minor assistance to people affected by disasters on a range of issues including insurance, tenancy, credit and debt problems and what free legal assistance may be available in your area.

LawAccess NSW

Tel: 1300 888 529

NSW Fair Trading

Provide assistance and advice to consumers and business regarding fair and ethical practice.

Tel: 13 32 20

NSW Small Business

Through the Small Biz Connect Program small business can receive assistance and advice

Tel: 1300 134 359

SafeWork NSW

Will replace SafeWork NSW licences at no cost to those affected by the floods

Tel: 13 10 50

Services NSW

Services NSW will replace certificates and drivers licences at no cost to those affected by the storm

Tel: 13 77 88

Salvation Army

To provide assistance to residents affected by the floods.

Tel: 1300 363 622