Queensland farmers are rejoicing after recent widespread rain but have warned a few days of good falls are not enough to break a drought that has lasted more than half a decade in many parts of the state.
AgForce North Queensland Regional President Russell Lethbridge – who recently co-ordinated a teleconference with more than 20 regional Mayors to discuss the impact of the drought – said many regional and rural communities were still doing it very tough.
“The prolonged drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland, with more than two-thirds of the state still drought declared,” he said.
“The recent rain has certainly bought a smile to many faces in rural and regional Queensland, but it has been very patchy and it should not be forgotten that many regions in the west were first drought declared back in early to mid-2013, so it’s a long road to recovery.”
Mr Lethbridge said AgForce would be joining with regional Mayors to establish an Emergency Drought Response Taskforce to identify and advocate for solutions to help support families and communities that are struggling.
“The ongoing nature of this drought has overwhelmed even the best efforts of producers to prepare and has been compounded by other challenges such as the kneejerk live export ban in 2011 and continued uncertainty around vegetation management regulations,” he said.
“The drought assistance and support measures provided by the State and Federal Governments are very welcome, but are really designed to assist people through a drought that lasts two to three years, whereas many producers are now facing their sixth year with severe rainfall deficits.”