Farmers entitled to loans and subsidies as flood recedes
THE Southern Downs has been classed a disaster zone by the State Government, giving the region's flood affected primary producer's access to relief assistance.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh, witnessed first-hand the damage done to farmers across this region when he was given a tour by Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Peter Blundell yesterday morning.
Minister McVeigh saw debris-clogged fences, flooded paddocks and mud-covered crop fields on the drive to Killarney.
Primary producers across the region were unable to access assistance from the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority until the Southern Downs was declared a disaster zone.
This happened late yesterday afternoon and the region was classed as a Category B.
Minister McVeigh said this entitled primary producers affected by the floods access to concessional loans up to $250, 000 and freight subsidies of $5000 for farmers.
"I am maintaining constant contact with farmers, agricultural industry bodies and local governments to discuss the impacts of the current flooding and the range of support that is needed," he said.
"We will also be looking at Category C, which includes standard recovery and exceptional circumstances grants for the worst-affected Shires.
"I have asked industry to provide me with as much detail as possible about which sectors have been hit hardest and where."
"Producers outside these shires who have suffered serious damage can apply for an Individual Disaster Stricken Property declaration.
"In the meantime, flood-hit farmers and rural businesses should contact their local government disaster management group for immediate support."
Minister McVeigh sympathised with the farmers across the region.
"It is a sobering picture," he said.
"No industry has escaped unscathed with reports of significant infrastructure damage, crop and stock losses, power outages and communication and transport problems.
"Primary producers across the state who have just finished the clean-up over the last two years have been left saying 'here we go again'."
"I don't want to overstate the scale of the recovery ahead of us but our farmers and fishers and small businesses have really taken a hammering from Rockhampton right down the coast to the south east corner.
"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.
"Nor should we overlook the benefits that many other producers outside the immediate impact area will derive from the good rainfall.
"Rest assured, I will be doing everything within my power to secure support and funding from the Commonwealth and other agencies to help our agricultural industries clean up in the short term and resume normal operations in the longer term."
To apply for Category B assistance or for more information visit daff.qld.gov.au or phone 13 25 23.