Agricultural Damage And Stock Losses Being Added Up From Cyclone Debbie

Agricultural Damage And Stock Losses Being Added Up From Cyclone Debbie

Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne

Impacts Of A Week Of Wild Weather On Queensland Agriculture

Victor P Taffa

Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne today convened the second meeting of the state’s Agricultural Co-ordination Group, which will provide information and advice on the recovery effort in the wake of Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

“Cyclone Debbie and its aftermath have inflicted widespread damage and work is under way in conjunction with key industry representatives to help us understand the full impact on producers.” Minister Byrne said.

“Agricultural Co-ordination Group raised the issue of the emotional and social welfare of primary producers and that is a top priority of the Palaszczuk Government.”

“Community Recovery Hubs have been established in Bowen and Mackay and as communication infrastructure is restored, I urge anyone distressed by their situation to seek assistance.”

“My department is working closely with industry organisations to ensure help is available for those who require it.” Minister Byrne said.

Minister Byrne said 20 staff, from as far afield as Mareeba, Cairns and Townsville, was already working on the regional recovery response.

6 DAF officers would be on the ground over the weekend and early next week conducting industry impact assessments where it is safe to access.

However, Minister Byrne cautioned some primary production areas may not be accessible for some time.

A QRAA officer will be at the Mackay Community Recovery Hub at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre from 9 am to 4:30 pm to work with primary producers and small business owners.

DAF and QRAA officers will be available at the Bowen Community Hub at the Bowen TAFE Campus on Queens Road from Monday. The DAF Mobile Office will be set up from Monday at the DAF Delta Research Station, which has sustained cyclone damage.

Minister Byrne said information was still coming in about the impact of flooding away from the main cyclone impact zone in the Whitsunday and Mackay local council areas.

“It is still far too early to put a Dollar figure on the loss of crops and damage to infrastructure and machinery, but departmental staff is conducting impact assessments in areas where it is now safe to access.” Minister Byrne said.

“In the Burdekin they are reporting that there has been limited damage to cane, but mung bean crops have been damaged.”

Preliminary industry reports indicate that:

  • According to Canegrowers, 100% of the crop is damaged to varying degrees in Proserpine, with a projected 25% in sugar production this season.
  • Vegetable crops in Bowen look to have suffered a 100% loss of the early plant, with around $13 Million in direct planting costs and costs in excess of $100 Million for lost production, not including infrastructure damage.
  • At this stage there are anecdotal reports of stock losses in the grazing industry but information is limited due to rising flood waters.
  • Reports of floods exceeding the levee and damaging cotton fields on the Mackenzie River at Big Bend.
  • Loss of power was adversely affecting aquaculture businesses in Bowen, Mackay and Sarina

Queensland Agricultural Coordination Group includes

  • Agforce,
  • Australian Banana Growers,
  • Australian Sugar Milling Council,
  • Brisbane Markets,
  • Canegrowers,
  • Cotton Australia,
  • Growcom,
  • Local Government Association of Queensland,
  • QRAA
  • Queensland Dairyfarmers,
  • Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries,
  • Queensland Department of Premier and Cabinet,
  • Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.
  • Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF),
  • Queensland Seafood Industry Association,
  • Pork Queensland and United Egg Producers,
  • Timber Queensland.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF)

Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority (QRAA)