Member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar is calling the Premier to model the Governments’ new Queensland Drought Appeal on the success of the community-led Western Queensland Drought.
It’s an approach, he says that benefits all those affected by drought in the regions.
“The money has come from public and corporate donations of cash. It is distributed via pre-loaded debit cards to drought affected farmers and graziers.”
Mr Millar says the Western Queensland Appeal is discreet and dignified.
“It ensures that they funds are spent locally, including items such as groceries from the local supermarket, medicines from the local pharmacist or having the car serviced at the local mechanic.”
Mr Millar says the Western Queensland Drought Appeal was set up in consultation with locals, after the Premier refused his request three years ago for a Queensland Drought Appeal to promote and distribute monetary donations.
“I congratulate the Premier for coming to the table and supporting our farmers and graziers throughout Rural Queensland, but it’s important that we ensure that the money raised it effectively supporting the whole rural community.”
“Over the last three years the Western Queensland Drought Appeal has delivered over a million dollars to drought-affected primary producers and their families in 18 remote shires across north, south and central western Queensland.”
“With the debit card, families can continue to function within their local communities and by spending the money locally, we are keeping our small business families in town.”
Mr Millar says that small business operators are not eligible for Federal government assistance, so they are really hit hard.
“We are in our seventh year of drought in western Queensland. The whole basis of the local economies would have evaporated without the Western Queensland Drought Appeal. It has been calculated that every dollar distributed circulates seven times in the local economies. So, we are making those donations work very hard.”
“If we are to have viable communities after the drought we need to keep the general grocers, the hardware merchant, the newsagent, the local tradies such as the mechanic and the electrician, the butcher and the plumber going.”
Mr Millar says he hopes the new Queensland Drought Appeal Fund will promote the donation of cash for drought relief and he is urging the Premier to look at what’s already working with the Western Queensland Drought Appeal.
“It might be three years late, but it is still needed so I encourage everyone to make a donation, small or large.”