Premier demands climate change be part of drought talks

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says tomorrow’s national Drought Summit will be wasted unless talks include substantial discussion on the lasting impacts of climate change and actions to limit emissions.

“Let’s call a spade a spade and let’s accept droughts are getting longer and more savage,” the Premier said.

The Premier wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to add climate change to the agenda.

Drought in Queensland is not new.

58% of Queensland is drought declared.

“I welcome the Prime Minister’s attention to the drought which Queensland farmers have been battling since 2013,” the Premier said.

“More than $670 million has been provided in Drought Assistance from the Queensland government since then.

“An additional $9 million was provided this year.

“We also launched the Queensland Drought Appeal in August.

“Thanks to the generosity of Queenslanders helping Queenslanders it raised $3 million in a month.”

The Premier said she welcomed the chance to contribute to the summit.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development Mark Furner reiterated his repeated calls for the Federal Government to restore its previous 25 per cent contribution to the Emergency Water Infrastructure Program.

Under the program the Queensland Government provides up to a 50 per cent rebate for water infrastructure bought for emergency animal welfare needs in drought-affected areas.

“I am bitterly disappointed to see the procession of Federal Agriculture Ministers and Prime Ministers that have come and gone without restoring support for this program,” Mr Furner said.

The Federal Government contributed $13 million to this program up to 2015, but since then the Queensland Government has had to carry the load.

Mr Furner said the Queensland Government has written multiple times to its Federal counterpart seeing reinstatement of the funding, but to no avail.

“This program provides a 50 per cent rebate on water infrastructure for supplying livestock to drought-afflicted farmers,” he said.

“This is critical infrastructure that helps them to keep livestock alive, but also supports the drought resilience they need to remain viable in the long term.

“It’s time for the Federal Government to put their money where their mouth is and finally restore this funding.”

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