News and Views

Extended disaster assistance welcomed

AgForce has welcomed the activation of disaster assistance for primary producers affected by flooding in central and south-east Queensland, but flagged that more support may be needed as the full economic impact of Cyclone Debbie becomes clearer.

During a visit to cattle properties in the Beaudesert and Rathdowney region, AgForce CEO Charles Burke said the effects of Cyclone Debbie and the subsequent flooding would be felt for months to come.

“Beef producers in the Isaac Regional Council area have had major livestock losses and significant damage to their properties, while the continued flooding in Central Queensland has seen mustering pilots moving cattle higher than they have ever been moved before to try and reduce stock losses,” he said.

“In the south-east there have been stock losses in the Beaudesert and Rathdowney region, extensive crop damage, roads and bridges smashed, and kilometres of fences destroyed.

“We welcome the announcement that Category B assistance under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements – providing freight subsidies of up to $5000 and low interest loans – has been extended to primary producers in seven additional local government areas, including here in the Scenic Rim.

“We’d also like to see Category C natural disaster assistance activated as soon as possible as this would allow primary producers to access grants for the clean-up and removal of debris, to dispose of deceased livestock and other restoration activities.”

Mr Burke said AgForce had developed an impact assessment survey to help present a case to governments of the need for more support for primary producers, and he encouraged all affected beef and grain producers to log on to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YNCJT33 and fill out the survey as soon as they can.

“AgForce’s Regional Managers have been out on the ground supporting affected members, and we will continue to do everything we can to assist primary producers through the long recovery process,” he said.

Information about assistance for primary producers under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements is available at https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/environment/primary-producers-cyclone-debbie.

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