Agriculture Minister Mark Furner has said the state government would look at putting Cloncurry back on the list of drought-declared shires.
“We’ve lifted the loan capacity of QRIDA (formerly QRAA) and we are seeing the benefits of that but we need to look at a lot of measures to see people have access to those loans,” Mr Furner said.
“I never ceased to be amazing by the resilience of people on the ground who look after their properties, they are the salt of the earth people.”
The agriculture minister was speaking in Cloncurry on Tuesday after coming good on a promise to visit on after an invite from Mayor Greg Campbell.
“This is my sixth trip out in the regions since becoming agriculture minister and it’s great to have the backing of the premier in making resources available to me to do this because that’s the only way you are going to talk to real people in the regions about their issues,” he said.
“Today we’ve had a meeting with Andrew Maclean from Southern Gulf about prickly acacia and as we travel around the regions in these tours we get a stronger appreciation about the needs of property owners.”
While in the region Mr Furner and Mayor Campbell were taking a helicopter tour of the proposed Cave Hill dam site followed by two property visits to the Curley’s Gypsy Plains and the Hacon’s Granada stations.
The new Agforce CEO Mike Guerin accompanied Mr Furner to Cloncurry saying it was important to get their issues in front of the Minister. “The big thing at the moment is drought,” Mr Guerin said.
“Some of our members across Queensland have been in drought for many years, the situation is getting dire, we are looking at what can do to get families through, some of these small communities if we lose them we don’t get them back.”
Mr Guerin said they were also talking to the Minister about biosecurity and land management issues.
Traeger MP Robbie Katter welcomed the possibility of drought declaration.
“Everyone’s getting nervous. But being drought declared, we think that can be tweaked to make sure it’s not just hand-outs but a hand up and making sure we are building capacity,” he said.
The story Agriculture Minister raises possible drought declaration for Cloncurry first appeared on The North West Star.