Assistance On Hand For North Queensland Fire Affected Farmers

Assistance On Hand For North Queensland Fire Affected Farmers

Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps

Rent Relief For Fire-Devastated North Queensland Shires

Victor P Taffa

Far North Queensland landholders and businesses affected by recent fires can now apply for leasehold rent deferrals under a Newman Government announcement made today.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, said graziers and small business owners in shires declared under ‘natural disaster arrangements’ and whose property has sustained damage due to fire, can apply for deferral of leasehold land rent.

“Fires have destroyed vast tracts of grazing land in the Etheridge Shire Council and Tablelands Regional Council areas. My concern is that many agricultural businesses will be without income and facing significant recovery costs for some time.” Mr. Cripps said.

“The Department of Natural Resources and Mines has considered what assistance it can offer affected businesses in addition to concessional loans and fodder and freight subsidies.”

“Property owners in these declared local government areas are encouraged to make an application to the Department to have their next leasehold rental payment deferred to assist in their financial recovery.”

The Newman Government offer to defer leasehold rent for fire-affected rural businesses could help more than 80 landholders across the Etheridge and Tableland shires. Eligible applicants can have their full 2012/13 rent deferred, with repayments subject to an interest rate of 2 %.

“I’d like to reassure landholders whose leases are due for renewal shortly that they may be eligible for short-term lease extensions to allow time for recovery before land assessments are completed by Departmental officers.”

Mr. Cripps also reminded landholders that there are a number of exemptions under the Vegetation Management Act for clearing activities undertaken as part of bushfire clean-up operations.

All of the following activities can occur without the need for a permit:

  • Clearing of vegetation killed by fire
  • Removal of vegetation that poses an imminent risk of serious personal injury or damage to infrastructure
  • Vegetation clearing to maintain fire-affected infrastructure such as pipes, roads or fences
  • Vegetation clearing to maintain existing firebreaks
  • Clearing of ‘least concern’ remnant vegetation up to 10 metres wide for a road or fence.