North Burnett farmers are breathing a sigh of relief as the region is officially drought declared.
North Burnett farmers are breathing a sigh of relief as the region is officially drought declared. Max Fleet BUN191015RUR3

North Burnett region officially drought declared

NORTH Burnett farmers are breathing a sigh of relief as the region is officially drought declared.

It was among seven regions to be drought declared today with Fraser Coast, South Burnett, Cherbourg, Gympie, Somerset and the remainder of Banana also receiving official drought status from the State Government.

The North Burnett region includes Biggenden, Eidsvold, Gayndah, Monto, Mundubbera and Mt Perry among others.

North Burnett Deputy Mayor Faye Whelan said she was overjoyed with the news.

"That's saving me a call to the minister on Monday," she said.

"This is wonderful news for the region.

"We have been way below our rainfall average."

Cr Whelan said some of the farmers in the North Burnett have been cut off from the water from Boondooma Dam.

"Dry farmers are in a dire strait and it's imperative they get some relief in electricity and transport," she said.

"The subsidy will make a huge difference to our primary producers."

Cr Whelan said Coalstoun Lakes farmers had seen plenty of their crops fail due to the dry season.

"This news will be exceptionally good for them," she said.

The verdict brings the total area of Queensland where drought is declared to 87.47% - the highest ever.

"On Tuesday I asked Local Drought Committees across South East Queensland to meet at their earliest opportunity to recommend whether their Shires should be drought declared," Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said.

"The committees would normally expect to meet during April but I asked them to bring their meetings forward because of the lack of rain during the wet season.

"Today I have received the recommendations of seven committees to make a declaration and I have no hesitation in doing so. The declarations are effective immediately.

The news follows the drought declaration of the Bundaberg region last week.

Mr Byrne said the Fraser Coast region had the lowest rainfall in its recorded history during the past 12 months and the overall outlook for the cane industry and other cropping in the Fraser Coast was poor.

"In Gympie, producers are already feeding hay for roughage as well as protein and energy feeds due to the loss of paddock roughage in some areas.

"Around Biloela there are very large rainfall deficits and there were no summer dryland crops this year."

Drought declared producers are able to access DRAS fodder and water freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates as well as access to other programs in the Queensland Drought Assistance Package if they are eligible.

This includes relief from electricity charges, land rent rebates and water licence waivers as well as access to a number of community and mental health programs.

The threshold for a drought declaration is generally a once in 10 to 15 year rainfall deficiency.

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



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