AgForce has welcomed further recognition by the State Government of the crippling drought that continues to grip Queensland, while calling for a bipartisan approach to the issue.
Despite recent good rain in parts of the State, Agricultural Minister Mark Furner announced on Wednesday that almost two thirds of Queensland was now drought declared after a significant lack of rainfall across central, southern and south east regions.
The full extent of the drought is still not known, with meetings in the Northern, Western and Eastern parts of the state delayed due to recent rains.
AgForce CEO Mike Guerin said that farming families and regional communities battling the impact of prolonged drought were feeling the toll financially, environmentally and emotionally.
“AgForce thanks the people of Queensland and the State Government for their ongoing support while this utterly devasting drought continues, entering its eighth year in some regions.
“Increased temperatures and a lack of rainfall during summer have had a major impact on agriculture production, as this is the key period for livestock and cropping systems.
“The drought has seen poor pasture growth, failed winter and summer crops, as well as significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural domestic water supplies moving forward into our normally dry winter period.
“We look forward to Minister Mark Furner releasing the Queensland Drought Review report of 2018 and to seeing bipartisan improvements to drought policy.
“In a state like Queensland, with its extreme weather conditions, measures to support farmers in times of drought shouldn’t be a political bargaining chip – this is about supporting families doing it tough.
“We’re also calling on Governments to increase capital works including roads, bridges, stock routes and on-farm water investments to help build and revitalise affected regions,” Mr Guerin said.
The seven percent increase in the amount of Queensland drought declared includes declarations that cover Ipswich Regional Council, the remainder of Western Downs Regional Council, Scenic Rim Regional Council, the remainder of Banana Regional Council, Gladstone Regional Council, Rockhampton Regional Council, Livingstone Shire and the southern portion of the Central Highlands Regional Council including part of the Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council area, defined as south of the Capricorn Highway.
Drought declared primary producers can access fodder and water freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates and desilting rebates, as well as transport concessions, relief from electricity charges, land rent rebates and water license waivers if they are eligible.
Primary producers who are experiencing difficult conditions in any council area that is not drought declared, can apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration if they require assistance. This will give them the same access to drought assistance as an area declaration.
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