The Newman Government has allocated another $20 million for troubled producers who have been dealing with persistent drought conditions, taking the total government commitment to over $31 million this financial year.
According to the joint statement by the Premier Campbell Newman and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh, the new assistance package includes further funding for the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) of up to $13 million and is set to help meet the rapidly increasing demand for freight subsidies and the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme.
“The extreme dry conditions continue to spread and we are potentially facing a second failed wet season,” Premier Newman said while speaking in Longreach.
“We promised to make agriculture one of the four pillars of the economy, so we’re doing everything we can to support producers and rural communities that have been doing it tough for the past year. This is an expanded package of support measures worth $20 million for the current financial year, in addition to the $11.2 million I announced in May last year.”
Mr McVeigh revealed that the $20 million package also includes another $5 million intended for land rental rebates as well as the introduction of assistance with the cost of water licences.
“With the new drought declarations today, nearly 65% of the state is now drought-declared and this will only increase if the wet season does not arrive soon,” said Minister McVeigh.
“We can’t afford to wait and hope for the best. That’s why the Newman Government is acting now to put these additional assistance measures in place for the remainder of the financial year. As a new measure, we are also providing $2 million to organise community events, training and resources for local leaders and direct support for producers and families under stress.”