South east Queensland areas taken off drought declared list

Helen Walker
By Helen Walker
Updated April 21 2022 - 4:12am, first published 2:00am
Some beef producers have stated they are having the best season in 50 years after significatant rain started to fall in October last year.

The heavens opened last October in south east Queensland and since then significant rain has meant some local government areas are no longer deemed to be in drought.

Overall the state's drought declared area has dropped from 64.7 per cent to 61.1pc.

Advertisement

Ad

As a result, the drought status of 11 local government areas has been revoked, including:

  • Bundaberg Regional Council
  • Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council
  • Fraser Coast Regional Council
  • Gympie Regional Council
  • Ipswich City Council
  • Lockyer Valley Regional Council
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council
  • Somerset Regional Council
  • South Burnett Regional Council
  • Southern Downs Regional Council
  • Toowoomba Regional Council.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said local drought committees had assessed the response to the rain and flooding events over the past few months and noted a big improvement in conditions across the state's south east.

"While we acknowledge that some producers have suffered significant damage from the severe rain and flood events, the positive is that natural water courses and stock and irrigation water storages have been replenished, along with excellent pasture growth that will see us through to the next wet season," Mr Furner said.

The minister said individual properties could still be considered for drought assistance.

"If a producer is experiencing difficult conditions in an area that is not drought declared, then they could apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration," he said.

"This gives them the same access to our drought assistance as an area declaration."

The Minister said LDCs used a range of information and technologies when reviewing drought conditions.

"This includes the Australian Combined Drought Indicator, which was developed by the Northern Australia Climate Program with funding from University of Southern Queensland, the Queensland Government's Drought and Climate Adaptation Program and Meat and Livestock Australia," he said.

"Primary producers in the drought-revoked areas can now access freight subsidies for restocking and returning from agistment under the old Drought Relief Assistance Scheme.

"Other Queensland's LDCs will meet towards the end of this month to assess seasonal conditions in other drought declared parts of the state.

"Droughts and floods are part of our climate cycle and now is the time to start preparing for future droughts."

The Palaszczuk government's new drought assistance programs include:

  • Co-funding training with the Australian Government's Future Drought Fund to help producers prepare Farm Business Management Plans.
  • Drought Preparedness Grants and loans of up to $250,000 available through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).
  • Drought Ready and Recovery Finance loans of up to $250,000 which can be used for drought recovery activities such as restocking and replanting

Mr Furner said Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) was being phased out, as producers started accessing the new assistance programs.

The drought declaration map can be viewed at longpaddock.qld.gov.au and the prototype drought monitor can be viewed at nacp.org.au/drought_monitor

Want daily news highlights delivered to your inbox? Sign up to the Queensland Country Life newsletter below.

Advertisement

Ad
Helen Walker

Helen Walker

Toowoomba-based Journalist

Get the latest QLD news in your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.

We care about the protection of your data. Read our Privacy Policy.