PRIMARY producers on the Fraser Coast still have the option to defer their rates under a policy brought into effect from the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

The policy allows farmers feeling the pinch of drought to apply for an indefinite deferral of their rates until the drought declaration is lifted, after the Fraser Coast was drought-declared earlier this month.

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While it was discussed earlier this month for properties with independent drought-declarations across the region, the policy has since extended to all farmers in the region from the State Government's declaration.

Councillor James Hansen said the policy was only available for those who formally applied for it through the council.

"It takes a long time for properties to bounce back after severe drought - it may be up to six months, so the provision is in place," he said.

"They can defer their rates indefinitely until their drought declaration is lifted. They have to apply for it first...once they do that, they can defer their rates."

The Fraser Coast became one of the seven regions in Queensland to be drought declared on March 11, following record-low rainfall and excessively dry conditions over the past year.

Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. James Hansen. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle
Fraser Coast Regional Council - Cr. James Hansen. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle Alistair Brightman

"It is of some cost (to council), but it is the right thing to do. Primary producers contribute over $100 million to local economy, and it's a small thing to do, a great gesture," he said.

"There were about 20 independent drought-declarations, but since the whole region's been declared it's basically irrelevant now.

"Every registered primary producer can apply for drought deferral."

Eligible properties have the option to either defer their rates with no interest payable and no discount, or to pay within 12 months by instalments and receive a discount on rates paid.

Applications for rate deferral for primary production properties can be found here.

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST FRASER COAST DROUGHT STORIES HERE.



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