Bushfire-affected primary producers across South Australia have received more than $20 million in grant funding since last summer’s devastating fires.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the Marshall Liberal Government continues to deliver support for farmers impacted by the bushfires.

“Working with the Morrison Coalition Government we have delivered significant financial support to more than 300 primary producers as they continue their recovery efforts,” said Minister Basham.

“Kangaroo Island primary producers have received more than $10 million in support grants, over $8 million to those affected by the Cudlee Creek fire, more than $1 million to Yorke Peninsula farmers and almost $700,000 to those impacted in the South East.

“Primary producers receiving the $75,000 recovery grants are using the funds to assist with immediate bushfire recovery activities, while also supporting clean-up, rebuilding and other vital measures to get agricultural operations back up and running as soon as possible.

“It has been good to see all levels of government rolling up their sleeves to work with communities and industry to support those farmers who need it most during the most difficult time of their lives.”

Changes to the grants program announced in July 2020 include an expansion to eligibility requirements and an extension of the application deadline to 31 December 2020 to allow more primary producers to access the grants.

The improvements also include easing the off-farm income threshold, enabling applicants to demonstrate 50 per cent of their income will come from primary production or from products derived from their produce. The timeframe for reaching the 50 per cent income threshold has been extended from three to eight years.

Minister Basham said the changes were made following feedback from primary producers and industry.

“Our primary producers are incredibly resilient, but with so much occurring this year these changes provide producers who have not had the chance to apply time to consider doing so,” said Minister Basham.

“Recovery teams have been working very closely with impacted primary producers and we will continue delivering support for as long as it takes.”

Harrogate beef cattle and honey producer Tom Hampton suffered significant damage during the summer’s bushfires and was one of the first applicants to benefit from the recent eligibility changes.

“The first month or so was very adrenalin-fuelled, particularly with flare ups still needing to be put out, before we were able to finally look at the broader recovery and what assistance was available to us,” said Mr Hampton.

“I was very relieved when the criteria was changed, as it has enabled smaller producers like us who are a large part of the farming profile up here in the hills, to seek that much needed assistance.

“Up until very recently I have undertaken confinement feeding with the cattle but now knowing they are more secure as new replacement fencing is installed is providing great peace of mind.

“I’ve also now got new hives, re-establishing my apiary, and hoping to resume my honey production this spring. There is a lot to now look forward to.”

The grants are being provided through a joint Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement between states and territories and the Federal Government.

For information on how to apply for the Emergency Bushfire Response in Primary Industries Grants Program in South Australia, visit pir.sa.gov.au/recoverygrants or call the Recovery Hotline on 1800 931 314.