10 February 2010
Farmers in Queensland’s Gulf region who were severely affected by floodwaters last year can now access Exceptional Circumstances assistance after the Rudd Government accepted the independent advice of National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC).
The decision follows an application from the Queensland Government for Exceptional Circumstances for the Gulf region to assist farmers impacted by the floods and subsequent drought.
The NRAC found the initial area covered by the application did not meet the criteria for assistance. However, following a request from Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke the Queensland Government submitted a revised application and the NRAC recommended it be approved.
“The Rudd Government is committed to supporting farmers through what are some of the toughest working conditions of their lives,” Mr Burke said.
“Before the February flood waters receded, I visited Cloncurry and Normanton with the Member for Kennedy Bob Katter.
“I was told then by the locals that when the waters receded, it would look more like a drought than a flood-affected region – and they were right.
“The extraordinary situation in the Gulf was that the flood water didn’t recede for around eight weeks, which destroyed native vegetation.
“Normally, the ground is able to bounce back, however in this instance when the water did recede all the seeds were washed away.”
“The declaration was granted as a result of the drought that followed the flood, not the flood itself”
EC assistance has been made available until 15 June 2011.
The EC assistance comes on top of the assistance measures provided to producers in the area at the time of the flooding through the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
For a map of the Gulf region which has been declared EC please see the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry website at http://www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/ec/queensland/gulf_of_carpentaria
Further information about Exceptional Circumstances assistance to farmers can be accessed at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website at www.daff.gov.au/agriculture-food/drought/ec