Mayor welcomes drought declaration

Burdekin Mayor Bill Lowis has welcomed the news that the Burdekin Shire has been drought declared.

Cr Lowis said this would help our region’s producers who were struggling with the ongoing dry conditions.

“I have been pushing for a while to have our shire drought declared and I’m pleased the State Government has taken our input and moved to help our producers,” he said.

“I made my first approach to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) back in June when we were certain drought had set in as we’d missed the wet season and there had been no June rain.

“I was concerned for our canegrowers and Council advised their representative groups that their members could make individual applications for drought declaration.

“We had been told by graziers that their water holes had dried up and drought was on them.

“In October I again contacted DAF to investigate a whole-of-shire drought declaration and put in a submission to the Department.

“I am very pleased that this has eventuated as it will assist not only our graziers, but our irrigators who can now seek some relief from energy costs associated with irrigating crops.”

Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne announced the declaration this morning.

All producers in the Burdekin Shire are now eligible to access the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS). Funding provided through DRAS includes freight subsidies for fodder and water for livestock, and the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate.

Drought declared livestock producers can access up to $20,000 per year from DRAS, and if they have an approved Drought Management Plan, up to $30,000 per year increasing to $40,000 in the third and subsequent year of a drought declaration.

This drought, in addition to DRAS, the Queensland Government will also waive water license fees and fund discounted water supply electricity charges, while providing land rent rebates, additional funding for social support, community events, and mental health and wellbeing services through the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Producers wanting to apply for DRAS assistance, including the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate should contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 or access to DRAS claim forms and IDP applications can be found at www.daff.qld.gov.au.

Waivers of water licences and land rent rebates will be automatically provided by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines for the current financial year and any subsequent years of a drought declaration.

Producers in the newly drought declared areas seeking assistance through the Drought Relief from Electricity Charges Scheme (DRECS) should contact Ergon on 1300 135 210 or www.ergon.com.au

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