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More support on the cards for drought-hit farmers

QUEENSLAND Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister John McVeigh today announced increased levels of state support for drought-hit farmers.

Mr McVeigh said with more than 60 per cent of Queensland now officially drought-declared, the Newman Government was acutely aware of the need to help farmers and farm communities - through the state's Drought Recovery Assistance Scheme (DRAS).

Mr McVeigh, who recently toured drought-affected Northern gulf properties, said State Cabinet today endorsed more support for producers - agreeing to ease access to an extra $10,000 in assistance in the first year from $20,000 to $30,000.

"Producers who have reached the $20,000 cap in their first year can now access up to $30,000 by completing a drought management plan."

"Local Drought Committees will assess on a case by case basis the need to lift the DRAS ceiling for individual producers, depending on the information provided in a Drought Management Plan."

Drought Management Plan templates are available at www.daff.qld.gov.au.

Mr McVeigh said a further measure was the extension of the water freight subsidy to producers with stock on the road.

"Up till now the subsidy was only available to cart water to individual properties," he said.

"We've extended this to help those producers with cattle on stock routes, in sections where watering facilities are non-existent or have not been maintained."

The Newman Government is also negotiating an agreement with the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group to help financially stressed producers who are unable to raise the necessary finance to deal with emergency animal welfare needs.

Mr McVeigh said under the arrangement, Northern Gulf producers will be able to access the funding for new water infrastructure straight away to ensure more drought resilience.

To apply for DRAS or obtain a Drought Management Plan form, visit the local Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) office, call the  Drought Hotline on freecall 1800 025 656 (from Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm excluding public holidays), call 13 25 23, or visit www.daff.qld.gov.au.

Topics:  farming rural weekly


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