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Drought still biting in more than half of Queensland

by Beef Central, 16 May 2018
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FARMING families in more than half of Queensland are still battling drought, while primary producers in some areas are now entering the recovery phase following welcome summer rainfall, state farm organsiation AgForce said today.

State agricultural industry development minister Mark Furner announced that Queensland is now 57 percent drought declared, down from more than 66pc, in March, with the drought-status revoked in eight local government areas and three part-shires, while two shires were added to the list.

Areas that have had their drought status revoked include the western portion of the Banana Shire, Bundaberg Regional Council, Burdekin Shire, the northern part of the Charters Towers Regional Council, Fraser Coast, Gympie, North Burnett, Tablelands, the declared portion of the Mareeba Shire and the Western Downs Regional Council.

The Southern Downs and Lockyer Regional Council areas have been added to the drought declared list.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said the changes were based on the recommendations of Local Drought Committees taking into consideration their local conditions.

“The prolonged and severe drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland,” he said.

“Many western Queensland shires were first officially drought declared in early to mid-2013, so producers in those areas have effectively had six years with rainfall deficits.

“The summer rain provided hope and relief to some parts of regional Queensland, which we are seeing with today’s announcement, but many areas still missed out on the rain they desperately need. It’s important though that ongoing support, such as mental health services, are still provided to communities that have had their drought status revoked and are now entering the recovery phase.”

Drought declared primary producers can access fodder and water freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates, as well as transport concessions, relief from electricity charges, land rent rebates and water licence waivers if they are eligible.

Primary producers in areas where drought declarations have been revoked can apply for an individual droughted property declaration if they still require assistance.

AgForce recently established the Queensland Emergency Drought Taskforce with 24 western Queensland Mayors and has written to federal and state politicians to outline a series of priorities to provide immediate relief to affected communities.

The priorities include:

  • Capital works investment, such as roads, bridges, stock routes and on-farm water investments to help build and revitalise regions;
  • Review and extension of the Farm Household Allowance income support, including streamlining the application process and excluding essential farm assets from asset tests;
  • Relief from council rates and leasehold land rents for primary producers;
  • Education support for children from remote areas, including continuing and lifting the Living Away from Home Allowance Scheme;
  • Secure three-year funding for mental health support services, including that provided by the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“The ongoing nature of this drought has overwhelmed even the best efforts of producers to prepare and while current government assistance measures are very welcome, they are really only designed for droughts that last two to three years,” Mr Guerin said.

“AgForce is seeking a commitment to ensure drought affected Queensland producers have both the immediate support they need as well as long term policy certainty to promote better planning and long-term risk management and recovery.”

  • Primary producers seeking more information about drought declarations and assistance measures available can visit www.daf.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.

 

Source: AgForce



Reader's Comments


Comment
  • Marilyn Ramsay October 22, 2018

    Did the Charters Towers local drought committee consider the winter frost before stating north of Flinders Hi-way to be now free of drought from May 2018. We had nine frosts- all below zero – and wiped our grass out even though we got some rain. We are now in a shit of a position but according to them not in drought because we got some rain. There was no follow up rainfall to back
    up the short period of rain we got. What is wrong with the committee. Do they live on cattle properties or in town? We have been in drought for a long time and it takes a long time for paddocks/grasses to fully recover. One short rain event does not recover your land to full bodied strong grasses and in a third of a so called wet season.
    Grass needs early storms to get the grass to life, then the correct type of follow up rain to continue growing feed for the feed to last through to the next storms at end of year. Receiving 15 inches of rain in 6 weeks does not grow healthy strong feed for cattle. The Charters Towers drought committee called the northern boundary of Flinders Hi-way to be declared drought free in May 2018 and the call was far too early – the land had not received the correct type of rain fall to grow the grass. We received 40 inches of rain back in the 90’s in the wet season and our cattle were dying in July of same year. This committee needs to reassess them selves and go and talk to the cattle property owners before the committee decides which property is to be revoked as drought free. Each property is an individual with varying circumstances. We are a high frost zone area – was that considered? Did they consider when and how the rain fell? Not likely. I can put 15 inches of water on my house lawn in one month and that won’t see my lawn out for 12 months. Each property is individual and the drought committee should take into consideration each property as an individual, not draw a line north of Flinders Hi-way – what an easy way to please the boss. On the IDP application you are unable to apply for and IDP for 12 months after you have been declared drought free. No wonder people take their own lives. Makes you want to contact social media with the bullshit that goes on in the cattle industry and drought committees. I listen to ABC country hour every day and they do a fantastic job looking out for all types of farmers. Maybe one day I shall contact them with this rubbish dished out by the Charters Towers Local Drought Committee in their conclusions on who and where should be drought revoked or declared. Get out there and talk to the property people individually and get a real understanding of individual situations in all areas. Just “do not assume” each property is the same in a large area.

    Kind regards
    Marilyn Ramsay. Mobile 0427 703 002

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