Storm-affected communities in the Barossa, Murraylands and Riverland regions will have access to support from the state and federal governments to clean-up and rebuild.

Key points:

  • The joint package from the federal and state governments will help storm-affected communities
  • The package will focus on funding clean-up efforts
  • The assistance does not include compensation for crop losses

The package, available in 24 council areas, comes after an early estimate suggests the regions suffered about $350 million worth of damage from two recent storms.

The federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the package would provide a range of “practical measures”, including debris removal from properties and access to personal and financial counselling.

“This initial funding is really about the clean-up and getting people back on their feet,” he said.

Residents in the Riverland have been hit twice in the past fortnight by wild weather events, which have downed trees and damaged powerlines and crops.

Mr Pasin said assistance to clean-up damage from the second storm on November 6 could be made available after more assessments were carried out.

“This is very much a moving feast,” he said.

A large tree split down the middle by the storm, with half of it resting on the roof of a house

The storms brought down trees across the Riverland.(Supplied: Michael McGuckin)

Farmers count the cost of the storm

South Australian Minister for Primary Industries David Basham said crop damage and damaged on-farm infrastructure accounted for most of the financial losses after the storms.

“We had to do an initial assessment to get an underpinning value of what the damage is, and certainly at this point in time we were looking at $350 million,” he said.

“And it’s probably still likely to rise from that number,” Mr Basham said.

Netting to protect crops lies torn and damage next to a dirt road

Last week’s severe storm destroyed netting on this citrus property at Pyap.(ABC News: Eliza Berlage)

Almond Board of Australia chief executive Tim Jackson said the full extent of crop losses would not be known until harvest.

Mr Jackson said the looming issue for a lot of industries was the potential for ongoing wet weather.

“The three-month rainfall outlook from BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) looks ominous,” he said.

Support doesn’t cover crop losses

Riverland farmer Tim Schubert has been cleaning up damaged fences and crops at his citrus and grain property near Pyap.

Mr Schubert said farmers would welcome the government assistance.

“I’ve possibly got another two kilometres of fence lines that the trees have fallen on top of. So, I’ve got to take them off,” he said.

“But yes, assistance for crop losses would be good, but most farmers have insured their crops, so that’s probably covered that side of it.”

Damaged grape vines at a farm in Pyap.

Strong winds and hail damaged grapevines across the Riverland.(Riverland ABC: Eliza Berlage)

Mr Basham said the assistance did not include compensation for crop losses.

However, he acknowledged that some growers were unable to access affordable insurance to protect their crops.

“I am sure there is some market failure there,” Mr Basham said.

“It’s only becoming more and more challenging as insurance companies become more reluctant to insure against higher risks.”

Posted , updated 

SA storm damage bill tipped to rise as clean-up support announced
Source 1


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