One third of Queensland’s land area is now officially in drought, with 13 council areas now subject to drought declarations.
Prior to the new declarations, there had been no area of Queensland officially drought declared since 2011.
Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh said the persistence of extreme drought conditions in the north and west of the state had led to considerable destocking on some properties as producers responded to deteriorating pasture and water availability.
After meeting in April to conduct post-wet season assessments of seasonal conditions, Local Drought Committees have confirmed a very sober picture in the west and north west, Mr McVeigh said this morning.
Council areas in Queensland which are now drought declared (as at 1 April 2013) are:
Mr McVeigh said there had been rapid increase in the number of Individually Droughted Properties in recent months.
“Now we have 13 shires drought declared covering a major part of our state – this shows just how quickly the situation has changed,” he said.
“We’re keeping an eye on a number of additional council areas and the Local Drought Committees have advised me that they will be reviewing their status over the coming months.
“Primary producers who aren’t in the declared areas but believe their properties are facing drought conditions should contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration.
“While the drought declarations override many IDPs, 28 IDP declarations remain in place in an additional six local government areas. That number is expected to rise as the dry season progresses.”
Mr McVeigh said producers in drought declared areas could apply for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS).
“DRAS provides up to fifty per cent freight subsidies on fodder and water while an area is drought declared, and freight subsidies for restocking and returning from agistment after the drought declaration is revoked,” he said.
“The Queensland Government will provide up to $20,000 (excluding GST) to drought declared producers each financial year.”
- Producers wanting to apply for DRAS should contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 13 25 23 or access DRAS claim forms and IDP applications on www.daff.qld.gov.au