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Valuable meeting with the NRRA on Huon Valley 2021 storm

Fruit Growers Tasmania | Wednesday, 15 June 2022, 4.00pm

Hail Storm

On Saturday, 11 June 2022, notable Huon valley growers who were impacted by the destructive December storms in 2021 met at Willie Smith's Apple Shed with Shane L. Stone and Gary Shipway from the National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA).

Shane  Stone is the NRRA Coordinator-General and reports directly to Senator the Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Minister for Emergency Management. This is strategically important for the agriculture sector in terms of developing programs that promote resilience and capacity to mitigate future events.

Crop losses due to the hail storm in December 2021 are projected at over $3 million at the farm-gate, predominantly in apples. Some estimates put the broader impact on the Tasmanian economy at over $10 million, factoring in lost wages for staff, freight, packaging and returns to wholesale and retail outlets. The overall cherry crop impact was negligible as nets and covers protected most. However, repair and replacement costs for crop protection infrastructure are estimated at close to $900,000.

This meeting with NRRA was an opportunity for growers to share their personal stories of how the storm affected their crops and income. It also allowed them to directly raise their concerns about the funding to support their recovery and grant eligibility requirements.

Huon meeting

It was great having Shane Stone in the room as he explained the process of these grants and how the state government sets the quantum of the grant (in this case, $10,000) based on their assessment of need. Shane highlighted that historically allocation of recovery funding is 96% to clean up and only 4% for getting ready for future events, something that he and his team are working on changing. His care was evident in how he connected and listened to the growers and emphasised his aim to be the 'boots on the ground and heart at the table'.

Overall this meeting was an excellent opportunity for both growers and NRRA to meet and discuss in person. Growers left the meeting with a better understanding of the role of NRRA and how it can assist them in taking responsibility for forming strategies to mitigate future risks. FGT hopes this meeting also created connections for NRRA  and gave them valuable insight into the Tasmanian fruit industry.

Thanks are especially due to Holly Hansen, Tasmanians NRRA Recovery Support Officer, for coordinating the meeting and for her proactive work and tireless efforts to support FGT members. 

Briefing Presentation 

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