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Flood recovery funding for regional Victoria

Daniel Andrews 56 seats at the final tally shades the Coalition's 31. <i>Photo: AAP</i>

Daniel Andrews 56 seats at the final tally shades the Coalition's 31. Photo: AAP

Victorian farmers and small businesses inundated by floodwaters will have access to payments to assist with their recovery through a $73.5 million state government support package.

Included is $19.5 million for one-off payments of $10,000 to primary producers directly affected by the floods to help clean-up and re-establish damaged properties.

“This is an initial payment and we’ll get these out the door as fast as we possibly can, but just the certainty of knowing that this is coming will be a comfort,” Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters at the Emergency Victoria state control centre in Melbourne.

Primary producers will be eligible for concessional loans of up to $250,000 to restore or replace damaged assets, with reduced interest rates offered for five years.

They can also claim up to 50 per cent of the cost – up to $15,000 – for the transport of emergency fodder or stock drinking water, and moving stock to agistment, sale or slaughter.

Mr Andrews said more than 16,000 applications for support had already been made.

Victorian Farmers Federation Emma Germano was thankful for the state government assistance.

“Recovery in our flood devastated regions will take many months and this is a welcome, first step towards that,” Ms Germano said.

“We thank the Victorian government and Agriculture Victoria for listening as we continue to work together to support those impacted.”

Directly flood-affected small businesses will be eligible for a one-off $5000 payment to support clean-up, safety inspections, repairs, equipment hire and the purchase of stock.

“(Small businesses) are at the heart of those communities and we’ll stand with them as well at a very difficult time,” Mr Andrews said.

Mental Health Minister Colin Brooks announced a $4.4 million package to support extra mental healthcare for flood-affected Victorians, including $1.5 million for government mental health hubs and $2 million to reinforce community mental health organisations.

Applications for the agriculture and business grants open on Thursday.

– AAP

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