Category C flood assistance will help Southern Downs farmers get back on their feet.
Category C flood assistance will help Southern Downs farmers get back on their feet. Gerard Walsh

Emotional farmers' prayers answered by Qld Govt

THE desperate pleas for assistance from flood-affected farmers in the region have been answered by the State Government, who have now deemed Southern Downs primary producers eligible for up to $25,000 in clean-up grants.

It was three weeks ago the January flood tore through the Condamine River catchment area, ripping up fencing and gates, displacing soil and shredding crops.

Massie farmer Richard Jubb estimated the damage on his property to be roughly $200,000.

"It is probably more in the long term though," he said.

"I've seen damage to the soil I never thought I would see.

"It just came so high and so fast."

On top of the floodwater ruining his soil, Mr Jubb also lost fences.

"They were swept away," he said.

Mr Jubb said the Category C assistance would go a long way in helping farmers across the region get back on their feet.

"It is very good news for the district," he said.

"It means we should have some way of covering the costs we have incurred during this event.

"Category C is most helpful.

"I'm glad they finally got the message."

Clifton cattleman Hilary O'Leary was flood fencing when the good news came through.

"I know there are a lot worse things than having to do some flood fencing," Mr O'Leary said.

"But this assistance will definitely help some people get up and going again.

"We haven't been anywhere near as badly affected as other people, yet even so I have found myself waking up at night wondering how we are going to clean up and replace fences and crops all over again.

"We've done it before though and we will do it again this time."

Further west down the Condamine River an emotional Jeffrey Lack applauded the State Government decision to include the area west of Clifton in their Category C classification.

Mr Lack and his wife Janet lost top soil from more than 20ha of their cultivation, as well as kilometres of fencing and newly-planted summer crop. Like many landholders along the river it was also their third flood in three years.

"The grants will definitely give us a bit of a breather," Mr Lack said.

"It also gives us the feeling that somebody else recognises, like others we are doing it tough and will be for a while yet.

"We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but we know there are people who've lost more than we have, so we feel for them.

"It's going to be a long road to recovery for many though."

Mr Lack is the first to admit the devastation of another flood impacts as much on the human psyche as it does the bank balance.

"I used to say I farmed because it's what I knew and I loved the lifestyle," he said.

"But this flood, it was so much more devastating than the 2010-2011 ones and to be honest it's hard to come back.

"Somehow you've got to find it in yourself to get back out there and start the clean up and start getting paddocks back, because that's your income."

Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh said the upgrade in category came after the State Government lobbied their federal members.

"It was this first-hand information about just how severe the flood damage is that convinced our federal counterparts that Queensland farmers and businesses really needed that extra level of support to start the massive rebuilding task," Mr McVeigh said.

 

Flood-damaged farms and small businesses in the shaded area are now eligible for Category C assistance.
Flood-damaged farms and small businesses in the shaded area are now eligible for Category C assistance.

Flood grants

Category C grants provide two tiers of assistance.

Tier one is an initial cash grant of $5000.

Tier two is a subsequent grant requiring proof of expenditure for large scale works.

What you need to do

  •  Keep all your receipts
  •  Phone the QRAA on 1800 623 946
  •  Visit qraa.qld.gov.au for an application form


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