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17 July, 2021

Disaster relief funding release for Cassowary Coast growers

Cassowary Coast growers received welcome news this week with the release of $75,000 in disaster relief funding.

By Peter McCullagh

Banana Farmer, Angelo Russo, Member for Kennedy Bob Katter MP, Banana Farmer Frank Sciacca, Cassowary Coast Banana Growers Association president Dean Sinton and Member for Hill Shane Knuth. PHOTO: Michael Chambers

Member for Hill Shane Knuth said he had been advised by the Minister for Agriculture that the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) will be contacting those what had applied for funding as a result of damage caused to crops by Cyclone Niran earlier this year.

"It has been a long time coming but now those affected can get on with the job of recovering from the damage caused by Niran," Mr Knuth said.

Mr Knuth also said he had more good news, with the claim period to QRIDA now being extended until December 17, 2021, as requested by growers.

The standard $25k in disaster relief funding was automatically activated, however joint lobbying from the Member for Hill, Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter and canegrowers, resulted in an additional $50k in funding relief being provided jointly by the State and Federal Governments, due to the severe damage caused by Cyclone Niran to growers.

Mr Knuth said unfortunately, the release of the additional $50k in funding had been delayed.

"We had to jump through a number of hoops to initially secure the additional funding, which was then held up in bureaucratic red tape, much to ours and the farming community's frustration,” he said.

“Now that the required regulation is in place, it should make any future claims a far quicker process."

Mr Knuth said he had been in constant contact with the Minister for Agricultures office during the process to get the regulation in place to have the funding released and was informed on Thursday evening that it had finally been approved.

Cassowary Coast Banana Growers Association president Dean Sinton said the announcement was greatly welcomed by growers.

"Shane's office has been in constant contact with us throughout the entire process from start to finish and we cannot thank Shane and Bob enough for going into bat for growers,” Mr Sinton said.

While it has been frustrating that we haven't had immediate access to the funding, due to state government red tape, growers are grateful that it has now been delivered, so we can get on with our business."

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