Extraordinary disaster assistance recovery grants of up to $50,000, as well as low-interest loans of up to $250,000, are now available for eligible primary producers in the Somerset region after the floods that hit Central, Southern and Western Queensland in November and December 2021.
The financial assistance is being jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said assistance was also extended to North Burnett, Gympie and Bundaberg to assist local councils and state agencies with the costs of clean-up and damage repairs associated with the floods.
“I know from visiting one of the regions in New South Wales that was affected by the same storm event in late December last year, just how devastating these floods have been for primary producers. I saw first-hand the damage caused to what we know would have been a bumper crop. Primary producers in Somerset have similarly suffered extensive damage to crops, fencing and infrastructure, so it’s crucial we extend the assistance we’ve provided across Queensland and New South Wales to help these hard-working farmers with their recovery process,” Minister McKenzie said.
“In addition to the incredibly heavy rainfall the area experienced in such a short time, significant riverine flooding has hit many places hard.
“With numerous roads flooded or damaged by floodwaters across Bundaberg, Gympie and North Burnett, it’s imperative disaster assistance is available to repair the damage in these regions.”
Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) Steven Miles said the unprecedented rainfall had caused considerable disruption.
“As more councils come forward with reports of damage from last year that are now compounded by the most recent floods, the state and federal governments are working together to ascertain exactly what assistance is needed and where,” Mr Miles said.
“The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has gathered information on the effects on producers in Somerset and they are considerable, and damage to roads only exacerbates supply issues at a time when COVID is really hitting availability.
“I am pleased to also announce that freight subsidies of up to $5,000 are also available to help these producers overcome these difficulties and send their crops and stock to market.
“These grants, loans and freight subsidies are a great step in helping communities get supply chains moving again.”
This extension of the DRFA is in addition to the disaster assistance already available in Balonne, Banana, Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Boulia, Bundaberg, Central Highlands, Diamantina, Goondiwindi, Flinders, Lockyer Valley, Longreach, Maranoa, Murweh, Scenic Rim, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Toowoomba and Western Downs as a result of the Central, Southern & Western Qld Rainfall & Flooding, 10 November -3 December 2021 event.