This week the Bathurst region was fortunate to receive some rainfall across the area and while some more is forecasted in the near future, we must remember that a hot and dry summer is on the horizon.
Warm weather with little rainfall will see the bushfire danger rating consistently sit at the higher end of the scale, with total fire bans frequently in effect. I want to take this opportunity to encourage all residents, especially those on the land, who live near bushland and areas prone to grass fires to start preparing for the bush fire season.
The first step to keep your family and property safe is knowing your bush fire risk, which your local brigade can help you assess. RFS volunteers are an invaluable source of knowledge and can provide advice on preparing your bush fire plan, preparing your property and planning with neighbours.
Two-thirds of people surveyed acknowledged that it is their responsibility to get ready for bush fires, but nearly half of people have not taken any steps to prepare. With 95 percent of NSW drought affected and a forecast of ongoing dry and warm conditions, we're facing a potentially long bush fire season. Every resident in NSW should take four crucial steps to keep safe:
- Discuss what to do if a bush fire threatens your home
- Prepare your home and get it ready for bush fire season
- Know the bush fire alert levels
- Keep all the bush fire information numbers, websites and Fires Near Me smartphone app handy.
We know farmers are doing it tough right now, but we're encouraging those who applied for the subsidy last financial year to submit their tax invoices to ensure they receive their full payments.
Claiming the transport subsidy is simple and can even be done online at the Rural Assistance Authority website. If there are any issues getting the invoices in by the end of the month, I'm urging the region's farmers to contact the RAA immediately, so that assistance can be provided.
The last thing we want to see is a farmer entitled to a subsidy miss out. Eligible farm businesses can claim freight expenses up to $40,000 from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
More than $145 million in transport subsidies has been provided so far by the NSW Nationals in Government to help farmers with the costs of transporting fodder, water and stock. For more information on the $1.8 billion drought relief package, visit www.droughthub.nsw.gov.au.
Quad bike safety
Upfront costs and out-of-pocket expenses for important quad bike safety equipment and replacement vehicles will soon be reduced or eliminated under a new streamlined process for the Quad Bike Safety Improvement program, announced by the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government.
The ability to improve your safety should not be dependent on whether you can afford it. That's why the Government has changed the way the rebate system works, so that our local farmers who are doing it tough, have the ability to purchase important safety equipment which could ultimately save lives. Tragically, people are still dying on quad bikes.
Accidents that could be prevented with the right safety equipment, training and with more regard to the dangers involved with these powerful vehicles. This program is the most comprehensive in the country and has delivered more than $2 million in rebates to farmers, who in turn have invested $28 million in improving safety.
Farmers can also access free quad bike training sessions, and a $500 rebate for drones as part of the program, which promotes new and innovative ways of improving safety on farm operations. For further information on the Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50.