The Queensland Government has committed an extra $20 million to help struggling producers deal with persistent drought conditions, Premier Campbell Newman announced this morning.
The additional funds will take the State Government’s total drought commitment to more than $31 million this financial year.
Speaking in Longreach, Mr Newman said two thirds of Queensland had been drought declared since late last year and there was no sign of drought-breaking rain.
“The extreme dry conditions continue to spread and we are potentially facing a second failed wet season,” Mr Newman said, in a statement.
“We promised to make agriculture one of the four pillars of the economy, so we’re doing everything we can to support producers and rural communities that have been doing it tough for the past year.
“This is an expanded package of support measures worth $20 million for the current financial year, in addition to the $11.2 million I announced in May last year.”
The new package includes additional funding for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) of up to $13 million. This is on top of the $7 million already provided through DRAS so far this financial year and will help meet the rapidly increasing demand for freight subsidies and the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh welcomed the package, saying this was the most intense drought in years and it was taking a significant toll on primary producers.
“With the new drought declarations today, nearly 65 per cent of the state is now drought-declared and this will only increase if the wet season does not arrive soon,” Mr McVeigh said.
“We can’t afford to wait and hope for the best. That’s why we’re acting now to put these additional assistance measures in place for the remainder of the financial year.”
Mr McVeigh said a further $5 million for land rental rebates and the introduction of assistance with the cost of water licences was included in the $20 million package.
“As a new measure, we are also providing $2 million to organise community events, training and resources for local leaders and direct support for producers and families under stress,” he said.
- For more information on drought support in Queensland call 13 25 23, or visit www.daff.qld.gov.au or www.qraa.qld.gov.au