State Government called to convene local drought situation

MP Ann Leahy calling for WDRC to be reinstated as drought declared


Politicans disagree on WDRC drought status.

Mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council, Cr Paul McVeigh.

Mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council, Cr Paul McVeigh.

Western Downs producers doing it tough in the prevailing dry conditions can still take advantage of the Queensland Government’s Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said despite the region losing its drought declaration status some primary producers across the Western Downs are still feeling the pressure.

"We know that drought-affected families are doing it really tough out here on the Western Downs - no question, Cr McVeigh said.

“Water supplies are getting tight, we haven’t had decent rain for a long time and people are feeling the pressure.

“The drought declaration is a matter for the State government but I strongly encourage people to apply for support as individuals through the drought assistance programs, which is an option open to people. Do what you can to help yourself and your family."

MP Warrego, Ann Leahy.

MP Warrego, Ann Leahy.

Member for Warrego, Ann Leahy, has called on the State Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner,  to re- convene the local drought committee for the Western Downs Regional Council area.

Ms Leahy said she had been advised members of the local drought committee had expresses a desire to re-convene and re-assess, however they had been denied the opportunity by the Department of Agriculture.

“I have written to the Minister asking for the Western Downs Regional Council local drought committee to be re convened so the committee can re assess the drought conditions across the council area,” Ms Leahy said.

“The outlook from the Weather Bureau is not looking promising and the conditions are deteriorating across the region,” Ms Leahy said.

“Western Downs primary producers cannot wait until April 2019 for the drought committee to meet again,” Ms Leahy said.

“I encourage primary producers to lodge their Independent Drought declaration forms with the Department of Agriculture,” she said.

“Had the Western Downs not been prematurely removed from the drought list by the State Government, landholders would not be burdened with this additional paperwork at an already difficult time,” Ms Leahy said.

“I am concerned that if we don’t get Western Downs back on the list of drought declared shires the area may miss out on other funding streams that specifically target drought declared areas,” Ms Leahy said.

However Mr Furner is standing firm on his decision to remove the Western Downs from the drought-declared list.

“It is disappointing that the Member for Warrego would seek to use the dry conditions as an opportunity to play politics, Mr Furner said.

Minister for Agriculture, Mark Furner.

Minister for Agriculture, Mark Furner.

“At no stage has the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries denied the Western Downs Local Drought Committee (LDC) the opportunity to re-convene.

“LDC’s meet at least once a year at the end of the summer rainfall period (April) to assess seasonal conditions and make their recommendations about the drought status of their areas. 

“The Committees can also decide to meet at other times of the year if necessary.

“At this stage no members of the Western Downs LDC have formally requested a meeting, although I am aware the LDC is discussing the situation.”


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