Mayor Jack Dempsey has thanked the State Government for supporting his request for a drought declaration in the Bundaberg Region.
Mayor Dempsey said he had met with Agriculture Minister Mark Furner twice in the past seven months to request assistance in response to ongoing dry conditions.
Bundaberg Region primary producers can now access Queensland Government drought relief after the Bundaberg local government area was drought declared.
The announcement follows the latest recommendations from Local Drought Committees (LDC) and is effective from 1 May 2019.
This week’s State Budget committed $74.6M over four years for continuation of the multi-agency Drought Assistance package.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said some LDCs had decided to wait to assess seasonal conditions and pasture response after the monsoonal floods and subsequent local rainfall events earlier in the year.
“In the Bundaberg region LDC members commented that, while there was beneficial late summer rainfall, it was not enough to generate sufficient pasture growth and offset the ongoing and significant rainfall deficiencies,” Mr Furner said.
“There were failed winter and summer crops in many areas and significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural water supplies.
“The impact of the 2019 rainfall events across the north and west was mixed. While some areas recorded extreme rainfall figures and suffered subsequent flooding, other areas recorded useful rainfall amounts with limited damage, while some areas didn’t receive any useful rain.
“While there has been a general grass response, in many areas it does not have the volume that would be expected to carry normal stocking rates through to the next wet season, compounded by silting that has covered pasture land and will take considerable time to re-establish.”
Drought declaration to benefit local farmers
Mayor Dempsey said the drought declaration would provide a significant benefit for the Bundaberg Region.
“It was very pleasing because it will assist our farming community now to be able to access other funds.
“We are the largest growing agricultural area in the whole of the state; 24 per cent of everyone employed in agriculture are in our region.
“We have the capacity not just to feed Australia’s population but also 250 million other people.”
He said he had met with the minister recently as part of a WBBROC committee to discuss the importance of placing a drought declaration over the Bundaberg Region.
The drought declaration map can be viewed at longpaddock.qld.gov.au
For more information on drought assistance visit daf.qld.gov.au or call the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.
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