The Bundaberg Region has become eligible for Federal Government drought assistance after experiencing its driest year on record in 2019.
Federal Member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt, announced on Tuesday the Bundaberg Region will be included in the Drought Communities Program.
Under the program, eligible councils are provided $1 million to complete local infrastructure and other drought-relief projects.
There is also financial assistance available for eligible farming households that are facing hardship due to drought.
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey welcomed the Government's support.
“The prolonged dry conditions are unprecedented since records began,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Anything to help drought-affected farmers, businesses and communities is positive for the region.
“I wrote to the Minister about this and I'm pleased to see the Government respond. I also appreciate Mr Pitt's advocacy.”
Mayor Dempsey said Council would consider potential projects and programs to stimulate the local economy in drought communities.
“I spoke to the Department today and I understand that works need to be completed by June 2021,” he said.
Mr Pitt said “it's fantastic” the Bundaberg Region is now being included and he thanked the Prime Minister for his support.
“The review of the Drought Communities Program declarations announced today has taken into account rainfall data and both agricultural and broader employment information,” he said.
“Previously Bundaberg was not eligible for the Drought Communications Program due to one criteria.
“After investigating I found that the criteria which calculated agricultural jobs in the region didn’t include agricultural processing or packaging jobs.
“This was despite Bundaberg being one of the largest small crops growing regions in Australia, the largest macadamia growing and processing region in the southern hemisphere and a large sugar cane, grazing and avocado growing region.”