Nearly 52 per cent of Queensland is now drought-declared, underlining just how serious the seasonal deterioration in the state has become.
Queensland agriculture minister John McVeigh announced on Friday that new areas have been added to the list of drought declared shires, taking the number affected to 20, covering more than half the State's land area.
The areas added to the list are part of the part of Balonne Shire and a further part of Maranoa Shire. There are also 70 Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declarations in place in an additional eight council areas.
Mr McVeigh said the portion of Balonne Shire now drought-declared was west of the Carnarvon Highway where pasture is scarce, low in nutritional value and livestock are suffering.
“Areas without bore supplies are facing severe water shortages as dams are either empty or extremely low with no substantial runoff since February 2012,” said Mr McVeigh.
“In Maranoa, the already drought-declared area has been expanded to north and west of the Roma-Taroom Road and west of the Carnarvon Highway.
“The area had three years of good rainfall, which built up ground cover, but over the past 12 months there’s little rain and little pasture growth and dams are low or empty.”
Council areas drought declared:
- Balonne (part declared)
- Blackall-Tambo (part declared)
- Maranoa (part declared)
- Mt Isa
Mr McVeigh said other primary producers who 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, which will open them to Government assistance.
“Some Maranoa and Balonne landholders in the drought-declared areas will have already received their full land rent notices in the mail,” he said.
“These producers will receive an adjustment notice from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines taking into account a rebate on any land rent increases from 2012/13 to 2013/14.”
Mr McVeigh said affected producers could apply for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) and the other assistance measures included in the drought assistance package announced last month such as the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate and the Land Rent Rebate.
“DRAS provides up to 50 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 including the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate should contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 13 25 23 or access to DRAS claim forms and IDP applications can be found at www.daff.qld.gov.au
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