As the summer storm season rolls in, the Queensland Government has announced clear protocols and procedures for livestock fodder drops in emergency situations.
Queensland minister for agriculture Tim Mulherin said that since last summer, his department had consulted widely with industry to develop a clearer policy that better explains the procedure and payment systems around a fodder drop operation.
It was now working to make sure rural communities were aware of the procedures and payment arrangements the Government had put in place ahead of future flood events.
Some of the key points of the fodder drop operation guidelines include:
- Animal welfare remains the responsibility of the person looking after the livestock, usually the owner.
- If livestock become displaced from owners and the owner cannot be located, government and industry will determine the appropriate animal welfare needs.
- The provision of fodder and fodder drops is not eligible under standard NDRRA assistance – costs in these cases are borne by the owner.
- In severe events NDRRA Category C assistance may be used to help owners with the cost of fodder operations in agreement with Australian Government.
- In rarer more extreme events, assistance under NDRRA Category D may include a fodder program after negotiation with the Australian Government.
- Should there be a conflict, the human need for air transport will be a higher priority than the needs of livestock
- Fodder drops must not spread contaminants, chemical residue, weeds, pests and diseases.
Mr Mulherin said the protocols and payment arrangements had been communicated to agriculture and food industry groups through our disaster information kits.
"The information kit provides a pre-disaster checklist to aid in preparing for a natural disaster, an overview of how the disaster response is coordinated, a summary of financial assistance potentially available after a natural disaster, and a list of key government agency contacts and websites in the event of a natural disaster," he said.
"We also held a natural disaster preparedness forum with stakeholders including AgForce and Queensland Farmers Federation in October, where fodder drops were a key issue of discussion and the draft policy was outlined to industry.
The new fodder drop policy was consistent with the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) which is an agreement between the Australian and Queensland Governments under which disaster relief and recovery assistance is provided.
Mr Mulherin said the need for clearer protocols and payment arrangements were key recommendations for his department from the recent Flood Commission of Inquiry.
An information kit can be downloaded from the DEEDI website, www.deedi.qld.gov.au.