Some farmers have not even been able to get onto their land to assess the damage yet as the water is still pooled in the paddocks.
Some farmers have not even been able to get onto their land to assess the damage yet as the water is still pooled in the paddocks. Erin Smith

Valley’s worst flood 'in five generations’

FARMERS are counting the damage and estimating their present and future losses as they attempt to gain grants of up to $25,000, after the January flood pushed the region's creeks to record heights.

Yesterday a group of 50 farmers from the Glengallan Valley area gathered at the Glengallan Homestead Cafe to speak to local and state government representatives about the damage done to their properties.

Bill Bowen was one of those behind the meeting.

"The objective is to get the executives out to have a look at the damage," he said.

"The Glengallan Creek reached the highest flood level seen in five generations.

"There has been a lot of damage done to infrastructure from irrigation to sheds as well as crops."

Mr Bowen, whose farm is at Massie, said some of his fields were still too wet even to examine the full extent of the damage.

"We were just getting back on our feet from the 2010/2011 floods," he said. "It will take us another two years to get this land back on track."

Late last week the Southern Downs area was declared a disaster zone and the region's farmers placed in the Category B funding group.

This entitled them to concessional loans of up to $250,000 and freight subsidies of $5000.

However, the farmers are not happy and feel they should be entitled to Category C funding.

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry regional director for Southern Queensland, Richard Routley, attended the meeting to explain the process to the concerned farmers.

"Category C provides individual grants of up to $25,000," Mr Routley said.

"You can apply as the whole shire or just an area of the shire - I think we should opt for the later case."

Mr Routley said in order to qualify for this level of funding up to 15% of primary producers in the area had to be affected by the flood.

They had to have a total loss of greater than 10% and there must be a risk of long term damage.

"It has to impact more than this season's crops," Mr Routley explained.

"The guidelines are tougher than what they used to be."

Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Peter Blundell was also at the meeting.

"The level of damage is immense and there is a hell of a mess to clean up," he said.

"Our minds have turned to the best way to help get producers through the labyrinth of what they can apply for.

"Our economic development team have dropped everything to give you assistance.

"All I can do is pass my commiserations on again.

"For some of you this is the fourth time in four years."

In order to apply for the upgrade to Category C farmers need to pull together all their evidence of the damage done; including photos, estimated losses, damage bills and how it will impact upon them over the next few years.

For more information or to apply for the funding, phone state economic development officer Justin Heaven on 4661 6613 or email him at justin.heaven@dsdip.qld.gov.au or phone the Southern Downs Regional Council on 4661 0300 and ask for Nick Edols.



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