PRIMARY producers devastated during the historic flooding in North and Far North Queensland have been paid more than $40m in disaster recovery grants.
As of April 5, the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority had approved a total of $41.123 million to more than 500 directly-affected primary producers across eleven Queensland local government areas including Burdekin, Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Douglas, Flinders, Hinchinbrook, McKinlay, Richmond, Townsville and Winton.
The funds for immediate cleanup and reinstatement activities hit producers’ bank accounts within days of the applications for the $75,000 grants opening on February 14.
Since then an average of close to $1 million a day has been approved and paid to producers who lost stock, property, fences and equipment during the disaster event.
The majority of grants, worth more than $31m, have been paid to beef cattle producers while grants were also paid to sugarcane, vegetable and other primary producers.
More than 100 beef producers in the McKinlay local government area have already been able to put the grant money to good use, while producers in Richmond and Burdekin were also among the majority of grants approved to date.
QRIDA Disaster Recovery Manager Craig Turner said producers could use the grants to repair and replace fencing and essential property infrastructure, hire equipment and contractors, purchase and transport fodder, remove debris and dead livestock and other costs associated with the recovery process.
“The grants are designed to help ease the financial burden of immediate clean-up and reinstatement of their business,” Mr Turner said.
“QRIDA staff continue to operate on the ground across the North and North West and they are able to answer any questions and help producers complete their applications which have been streamlined to create a simpler, more convenient process for producers.”
Producers needed to show they were an eligible primary producer, within the declared disaster area, demonstrate they had suffered direct impact from the flooding and provide a simple estimate of clean-up and reinstatement costs.
“The application process has been streamlined and primary producers have the opportunity to apply for multiple properties if they are of sufficient autonomy and commercial scale,” Mr Turner said.
Producers should take photographs of the direct damage to accompany their application and while it is not a requirement, applicants can also provide other information such as relevant quotes, estimates or tax invoices as they would retain in the normal course of their business.
Affected producers can also speak directly to QRIDA staff for assistance via Freecall 1800 623 946 from Monday to Friday (8.30am – 5pm).
Disaster loans up to $250,000 were also available at 1.37 percent over a 10 year term for primary producers looking to rebuild, restock and cover essential working capital expenses.