New drought declaration details highlight that farming families in more than two thirds of Queensland are still battling the devastating impact of drought while primary producers in the north west were now entering the recovery phase, AgForce said.
The Queensland State Government announced Queensland is now 69.75 per cent drought declared, down from a record 87.47 per cent in March 2017, with several areas in the north of the State and the shire of Southern Downs coming off the drought declared list.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said the changes announced were based on the recommendations of Local Drought Committees taking into consideration their local conditions.
“The prolonged and severe drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland,” he said.
“Many regions in western Queensland were first officially drought declared in early to mid-2013, so producers in those areas have effectively had five years with rainfall deficits.
“Drought declarations have now been revoked in the north-west after one of their best wet seasons in years, but primary producers up there will still need support as they move into the recovery phase after years of drought.
“The announcement also highlights the fact that while Cyclone Debbie delivered welcome rain in some areas, it followed another very hot and dry summer and there still hasn’t been enough rain to break the drought in the majority of the State.”
Drought declared primary producers can access fodder and water freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates, as well as relief from electricity charges, land rent rebates and water licence waivers if they are eligible.
Primary producers in areas where drought declarations have been revoked can apply for an individual droughted property declaration if they still require assistance.
Mr Maudsley said AgForce had developed a new approach to drought policy based on the agricultural business cycle that aimed to put producers in the driver’s seat in managing climate risks, and to deliver better outcomes for producers and governments.
“AgForce stands ready to work with the QLD Government to ensure drought policy works to improve resilience and preparedness while also delivering effective assistance during extended, severe events like the one currently being experienced in more than two thirds of the State,” Mr Maudsley said.
Primary producers seeking more information about drought declarations and assistance measures available can visit daf.qld.gov.au or call 13 25 23.