NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council will send a delegation to Canberra to convince Prime Minister Julia Gillard to reverse her decision denying flood-affected farmers assistance grants worth up to $25,000.
Last week Ms Gillard rejected a flood relief application for farmers in the Joel Joel area north of Stawell, whose properties were flooded in December 2011
The flood destroyed livestock worth $264,000 and farm fencing to the value of $2.8 million and cost some farmers more than $100,000.
The flood was declared eligible for disaster relief in January, but just seven farmers received about $1000 each as part of Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
After five months of community lobbying, the State Government approved an application for the $25,000 grants, subject to approval by the Prime Minister.
Northern Grampians councillors decided at a meeting on Thursday to form a delegation to meet state and federal politicians on behalf of flood-affected farmers and business owners in the area.
Cr Kevin Erwin said council members expressed their ‘extreme disappointment’ with the Prime Minister’s decision.
“It doesn’t matter if it was one person or a thousand, these people deserve help,” he said.
Cr Erwin said it would be tough convincing the Prime Minister to reverse the decision.
“We also want to lobby state and federal MPs to make the requirements for disaster relief funding more clear cut and less ambiguous,” he said.
He said Attorney-General Nicola Roxon, who handled the grant along with the Prime Minister, lacked compassion.
“If a metre of rain swept through her electorate, which is about the same size as Joel Joel, it would be a different story,” he said.
Cr Erwin said the delegation would include council representatives and flood-affected farmers.
“We will work on organising a meeting as soon as the Federal Parliament’s winter recess is finished,” he said.
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