Queensland’s Drought Declared Area Falls To 66%

Queensland’s Drought Declared Area Falls To 66%

Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner

Queensland’s Drought-Declared Area Falls After Summer Rains

Victor P Taffa

Welcome summer rainfall has reduced the total area of Queensland that is drought-declared.

However, 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.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said he 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.” Minister Furner said.

“I’m pleased to announce that falls earlier this year have helped drop the drought-declared areas down from more than 66%-57%, with the revocation of 8 local government areas and 3 part-shire revocations.”

Minister Furner also said that Local drought committees had pasture growth which was good following welcome rainfall in the:

  • Banana Shire Council (Western portion),
  • Bundaberg Regional Council,
  • Burdekin Shire Council,
  • Charters Towers Regional Council (Northern part),
  • Fraser Coast Regional Council,
  • Gympie Regional Council,
  • Mareeba Shire Council (Declared portion),
  • North Burnett Regional Council,
  • Tablelands Regional Council,
  • Townsville City Council,
  • Western Downs Regional Council.

“As a result, I have accepted the recommendations of the local drought committees to revoke these areas.” Minister Furner said.

“I want to stress 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 IDP’s in 10 other council areas that we have in the coming weeks.” Minister Furner said.

Minister Furner said unfortunately, not all of Queensland had welcome rain.

“During the last 12 months much of southern, central and western Queensland continued to receive below to well-below average rainfall.” Minister Furner said.

“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.”

“Last twelve months has also been very dry for the Southern Downs and Lockyer Regional Council areas.” Minister Furner said.

“There are significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural domestic water supplies, and I have therefore accepted the local drought committee’s recommendations to drought declare these council areas.”

Minister 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.” Minister Furner said.

“However, to be eligible for these subsidies producers must ensure their property’s drought declaration is first revoked before introducing any livestock.”

Minister Furner said the Palaszczuk Government was also supporting producers through the $17.5 Million Drought and Climate Adaptation Program (DCAP).

“Queensland has one of the world’s most demanding environments to undertake agriculture.” Minister Furner said.

“Given our high level of rainfall variability, we want to help producers maximise good conditions and to better manage their resilience for when times are tough.”

“DCAP is bringing together the best climate scientists, climate advisers, and cutting-edge researchers in the state, nationally and globally to improve research, training and extension services to help producers better manage drought and climate impacts.” Minister Furner said.