REGION - Northern Grampians Shire Council has welcomed an announcement that will see Joel Joel and other flood affected communities in the Upper Wimmera Catchment receive Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangement (NDRRA) funding.
Since the rain events of December 2011, Council has been actively lobbying the state and federal governments for Category C assistance for those affected.
Mayor Cr Wayne Rice said council was delighted the federal government had now agreed to match the funding being provided by the state government.
"The state government approved Category C funding in May last year, but the federal government chose to reject the application," he said.
"This was extremely disheartening for council, our communities and especially our flood affected farmers.
"We have fought extremely hard over the past 18 months to secure funding and we are grateful that a positive outcome has finally been reached."
At least 99 farms, 64 homesteads and 16 community assets in the upper Wimmera Catchment were impacted on December 18, when around 125 millimetres of rain fell in just two hours.
Many farmers also lost fencing that had just been replaced after the January 2011 floods.
Category C grants of up to $10,000 will now be made available to eligible primary producers affected by the December 2011 floods.
In addition, the Commonwealth and Victorian governments will offer concessional low interest loans of up to $200,000 for the Northern Grampians area.
Cr Kevin Erwin said while $10,000 will not cover the cost of everyone's flood damage, it will provide important acknowledgement and allow some of the work that has been put off to be completed.
"The grants also let people know they weren't forgotten and that provides a huge moral boost," he said.
"Council's flood team will now try to identify each farm that was recorded as being impacted and provide them with information on how to access the grants."
Northern Grampians Shire Council Municipal Recovery Manager Greg Little said those affected by the floods had waited a long time for the additional support.
"Council has been working tirelessly with flood-affected farmers and residents to restore the social, economic, built and natural assets of our community," he said.
"We have made great headway, but without this Category C funding, farmers would not have been able to access some of the vital assistance they deserve.
"These families have been through a lot over the past 18 months and we are appreciative of the work local members David O'Brien and John Forrest have done to help advocate on their behalf.
"This assistance will make a significant difference to their livelihoods by providing important funds to help with the cost of restoring flood damage."