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New freight subsidy scheme to cut freight costs for Kimberley businesses and organisations hit by floods

Giovanni Torre -

A new freight subsidy scheme to reduce freight costs for Kimberley businesses impacted by recent floods will be jointly funded through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

The new scheme, to be backdated to 1 January 2023, will apply to the freight of essential supplies for businesses, not-for-profits and Aboriginal corporations in and out of the Kimberley, including transport of agricultural products out of the region.

In a joint statement the Western Australian and Commonwealth governments said reducing freight costs for Kimberley businesses will support the viability of local businesses and industries and bolster the region's ability to recover.

The subsidy will be calculated as the difference between pre-flood and post-flood freight costs and paid directly to freight operators. There is also a subsidy available for businesses and infrequent freight receivers established on a per pallet rate.

The joint statement said early assessments indicate demand for the subsidy scheme could potentially be close to $42 million.

The program, managed by the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, will be in place until a reliable freight pathway is in operation at Fitzroy Crossing.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said that while the road network remains disrupted it is important there is support for businesses to ensure the viability of industries across the Kimberley, which is key to the region's recovery.

"Following consultation with various parts of industry and local governments and businesses we've developed this subsidies package that provides support and ensures that we can maintain logistics routes and help the region's ability to recover from the event," he said.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt it is vital for businesses to be able to secure their supply chains and return to normal operations as soon possible.

"It is vitally important for the recovery effort and the local economy that impacted businesses get back on their feet as soon as possible," he said.

WA Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson the state government is working with the Commonwealth government through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements to help reduce freight costs as a result of the disaster and "ensure that communities can recover from these devastating floods".


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