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Western Downs flood situation ‘sobering’

Agriculture minister John McVeigh surveys the Condamine River on Wednesday afternoon with mayor Ray Brown.
Agriculture minister John McVeigh surveys the Condamine River on Wednesday afternoon with mayor Ray Brown. Richard Coombs

MINISTER for Agriculture John McVeigh highlighted his concerns for the agricultural industry on the Western Downs after visiting the region this week.

Mr McVeigh joined Mayor Ray Brown in Dalby on Wednesday to inspect the damage after floods on the weekend left much of the region in tatters.

"Our key as a government is we're stressing this is not just a metropolitan issue, it's right across Queensland," Mr McVeigh said.

"The impacts on agriculture will be revealed in totality in the coming days, in the coming weeks.

"Sorghum and cotton crops… they took a hit two years ago, here we go again."

Mr McVeigh's visit to Dalby came after he toured other parts of the eastern Darling Downs and Southern Downs on Wednesday.

He labelled the situation on the Downs as "sobering".

"I've been where the peaks are, I'm following it," he said.

"It's vital for me to replay information back to the Premier.

"No industry has escaped unscathed."

Mr McVeigh said there were reports of significant infrastructure damage, crop and stock losses, power outages and communication and transport problems.

The Minister for Agriculture announced farmers would have access to assistance through Category B disaster assistance, under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

"Under Category B, concessional loans and freight subsidies for primary producers and concessional loans for small business are available," he said.

With the town of Condamine set to be isolated for a week and the Warrego Hwy cut in a number of places until Tuesday, including Chinchilla, Mr McVeigh said freight access was another issue affecting the region.

"We will work closely with producers and transport authorities to find solutions to animal welfare issues and reactivate supply chains," he said.

"Despite the current damage and disruption, some crops will still be salvageable.

"And many producers can still supply good quality produce to local and interstate markets."

Topics:  condamine, dalby, flood 2013, john mcveigh, ray brown, western downs




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