New drought declarations show bush still doing it tough
Monday, 13 Mar 2017
New drought declarations announced over the weekend are a recognition of the continued impact deteriorating weather conditions are having on farming families across Queensland, AgForce said today.
Fraser Coast, North Burnett, South Burnett, Cherbourg, Gympie, Somerset and the remainder of Banana have been added to the list of shires officially in drought, with a record 87.47 per cent of Queensland now drought declared.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley thanked Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne for bringing forward meetings of Local Drought Committees and for accepting their recommendations on drought declarations.
“The prolonged and severe drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland,” he said.
“Fourteen regions in the west and north of the state were first officially drought declared in early to mid-2013, so producers in those areas have effectively had five years with rainfall deficits.
“With a below average rainfall outlook for March to May combined with above average temperatures, drought conditions are set to continue so these new declarations are timely, with further Local Drought Committee recommendations expected in the coming weeks.”
Drought declared primary producers can access fodder and water freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates, as well as relief from electricity charges, land rent rebates and water licence waivers if they are eligible.
As part of a review into drought assistance, the Agriculture and Environment Committee recommended that the Queensland Government consult with AgForce and other rural stakeholders to develop an updated model for drought support.
“AgForce stands ready to work with the Government to ensure drought policy works to improve resilience and preparedness while also delivering effective assistance during extended, severe events like the one currently being experienced across Queensland,” Mr Maudsley said.
Primary producers seeking more information about drought declarations and assistance measures available can visit www.daf.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.
Media Contacts: Scott Whitby 0418 733 102, Sarah Henderson 0427 626 853