Queensland’s drought-declared area falls after summer rains

Published Thursday, 17 May, 2018 at 10:13 AM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner

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” Mr Furner said.

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

“The local drought committees said pasture growth was good following welcome rainfall in the western portion of the Banana Shire Council, Bundaberg Regional Council, Burdekin Shire Council, the northern part of the Charters Towers Regional Council, Fraser Coast Regional Council, Gympie Regional Council, North Burnett Regional Council, Tablelands Regional Council, Townsville City Council, the declared portion of the Mareeba Shire Council and the Western Downs Regional Council,” Mr Furner said

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

“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 IDPs in 10 other council areas that we have in the coming weeks.”

Mr 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,” he 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.

“The last twelve months has also been very dry for the Southern Downs and Lockyer Regional Council areas. 

“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.”

Mr 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,” he said.

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

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

“Queensland has one of the world’s most demanding environments to undertake agriculture,” Mr 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.”

Updated maps showing the drought status of shires and boundary descriptions and further information on DCAP can be found at www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au.

For further information call 13 25 23 or visit www.daf.qld.gov.au.

Contact: Brock Taylor – 0427 018 178