SYDNEY, AAP – Farmers in the north of NSW are stressed and exhausted, with more than 800 reaching out for state government help as the flood crisis continues.
The NSW Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said fodder drops, vet assessments and disposal of dead stock had been among the priorities.
Speaking at the NSW State Emergency Control Centre for the Department of Primary Industries in Orange on Tuesday, he said $15,000 is available immediately for impacted farmers.
But some have criticised NSW government efforts for not being streamlined enough.
NSW Farmers Dairy Chair Colin Thompson said there have been limited resources available to help farmers in need.
Top Australian Brokers
“It’s now been more than a week and these farmers are exhausted, and they’re just not seeing enough physical help on the ground,” he told AAP.
Lismore dairy farmer Leigh Shearman said farmers had been left to help other farmers.
“The stress level is huge, we’re all doing our best to help each other,” she said.
Ms Shearman told AAP she hadn’t received any NSW government support and had already organised her dead animals to be disposed of.
“I don’t know what the government could do… it’s just some phenomenal thing that happened. We had two floods before this flood. Everything was waterlogged.”
Ms Shearman said with the phone only just restored to her property on Monday night “they couldn’t even ring… to say ‘Do you need help?'”
She said getting the “decimated” town of Lismore back on its feet will be a huge help to the region.
“That will support the farmers if they get the town up and running as soon as they can because we can’t buy anything … I wanted a tractor tyre fixed and the young bloke had to take it to Ballina,” she told AAP.
The dairy farmer also said $75,000 worth of grants available to farmers will help.
So far more than 800 NSW farmers have reached out to the state government for assistance, with over one million kilograms of fodder distributed to flood-affected farms.
Surveillance flights are still operating around the region to find stock, with the death toll for animals at least 600.
“Where there are animals that are … isolated, and sometimes it is in the middle of nowhere, fodder is being taken to them as quickly as possible,” said Mr Saunders.