The NSW government has announced further assistance for farmers battling the mouse plague, but it hasn’t satisfied farmers.
- The NSW government has extended its rebate for farmer expenses
- The Agriculture Minister has blamed Service NSW for a “bizarre” initial decision
- Farmers say the increased assistance is still not enough considering the scale of the mouse plague
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said the government would cover farmers’ expenses from February 1 instead of May 13, as initially advised.
Mr Marshall blamed Services NSW for the initial decision to commence the payments from May, when the problem had been going on for months.
“I just couldn’t believe when Services NSW made some arbitrary decision and put it on their website,” he said.
Farmers still not satisfied
Despite the change, Xavier Martin from the NSW Farmers Association said the rebate wasn’t enough as baiting had been going for several months.
Mr Martin welcomed the help to pay for landholders’ costs in the house and the shed, but said it would not be of any use in the paddocks because of the scale of the problem and the amount of chemicals being used.
“There are 70,000 kilos a day of zinc phosphide going out [so] the best part of half a million dollars a day is being used,” he said.
“Individual farmers are incurring $10,000, $50,000 and $150,000 [in costs] on baiting and still suffering mouse damage.”
The mice were attacking the crops being sown now for the winter growing season, Mr Martin said.
“We are getting reports where mice have bitten the top off the plant or dug the seed up along the furrow and [they are] stacking the grain around the mouse hole to help them survive the winter.”
Mr Martin is concerned about the ongoing health problems associated with mice.
“We are also getting reports every day or people, men and women being admitted to hospital or as outpatients suffering from rodent-related disease.“