The Queensland Government has announced a support package worth up to $11.2 million designed to help primary producers struggling with drought conditions.
Visiting Richmond in north west Queensland this morning, Premier Campbell Newman said the package comprises $7.8 million in outlays and up to $3.4 million in in-kind assistance or foregone revenue.
- Drought declared producers with scheduled increases of up to 20 per cent in land rent for 2013-2014 will obtain a full rebate of the increase, in a move designed to avoid placing new, extra costs on drought-impacted producers.
- $2.2m worth of agistment for drought-affected cattle in a select number of national parks and reserves. The package including $500,000 in fencing costs to protect sensitive areas within parks.
- Transport concessions totalling $100,000 to facilitate road train use for shifting droughted livestock between Mitchell and Roma, and Clermont and Emerald, with additional routes under investigation.
- freight subsidies for fodder and emergency water of up to $7 million.
- 40 mental health support workshops across the drought impacted area ($165,000) under a new program funded by Queensland Health.
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry mobile offices will visit drought affected areas providing advisory services, including how to access assistance.
Under existing measures producers in drought declared areas can already apply for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS).
The DRAS provides up to 50 per cent freight subsidies on fodder and water cartage while an area is drought declared, and freight subsidies for restocking and returning from agistment after the drought declaration is revoked.
The Queensland Government will provide up to $20,000 (excluding GST) in assistance to drought declared producers each financial year.
A key change to the DRAS announced today is the addition of the water infrastructure rebate for those who do not have water for stock. This rebate seeks to improve long term drought resilience by helping with the cost of longer term solutions to water supply.
“This will provide a 50 per cent rebate worth up to $20,000 for costs associated with emergency water infrastructure,” Mr Newman said.
There are presently 13 Local Government Areas declared drought stricken, which covers about a third of Queensland.
Queensland minister for agriculture John McVeigh said if the drought became significantly worse, for example a second poor wet season, then the government would look at what further assistance measures may be required.
“A number of Local Drought Committees will be meeting in the coming weeks to give me further advice on drought declarations,” Mr McVeigh said.
“Earlier this month I came to Richmond for a northern beef crisis summit meeting.
“A number of resolutions were passed seeking concessions on government fees and charges, modifications to taxes and duties, and freight subsidy assistance. This package responds to many of those resolutions.”
Mr McVeigh said producers who weren’t in a declared area but believed their property was in drought should contact the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration.
“There are currently 53 IDP declarations in place in an additional six local government areas,” he said.
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
Source: Qld Govt