More than half of the state remains in the grips of the long dry spell as Queensland enters its sixth year of the current drought, but numbers of areas drought declared have fallen.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner says he’s accepted the recommendations of local drought committees to revoke the drought status of parts of north Queensland, the north Burnett and south east Queensland.
“At the peak of the drought in March last year, 88% of Queensland was drought-declared. I’m pleased to announce that falls earlier this year have helped drop the drought-declared areas down from more than 66% to 57%, with the revocation of eight local government areas and three part-shire revocations.”
“The local drought committees said pasture growth was good following welcome rainfall in the western portion of the Banana Shire Council, Bundaberg Regional Council, Burdekin Shire Council, the northern part of the Charters Towers Regional Council, Fraser Coast Regional Council, Gympie Regional Council, North Burnett Regional Council, Tablelands Regional Council, Townsville City Council, the declared portion of the Mareeba Shire Council and the Western Downs Regional Council.”
“As a result, I have accepted the recommendations of the local drought committees to revoke these areas.”
The Minister however says that any producer who is experiencing difficult conditions in the revoked areas, or in any council area that is not drought declared, can apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration.
“This gives them the same access to our drought assistance as an area declaration and we will review the 80 IDPs in 10 other council areas that we have in the coming weeks.”
Not all of Queensland had welcome rain in past weeks.
During the last 12 months much of southern, central and western Queensland continued to receive below to well-below average rainfall, and a lack of useful spring and summer rainfall over the last four to five years, combined with above average temperatures, continues to have a major impact in most of pastoral Queensland.
Mr Furner advised producers in any drought-declared area who believed their property conditions were improved enough to allow restocking could have their property individually revoked.
“If their drought declaration is revoked, producers can access returning from agistment and restocking freight subsidies through the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) for up to two years after the end of the drought declaration.”
“However, to be eligible for these subsidies producers must ensure their property’s drought declaration is first revoked before introducing any livestock.”