DROUGHT ASSISTANCE EXTENSION: Primary producers have been granted an extension for drought assistance applications amid the coronavirus pandemic.
DROUGHT ASSISTANCE EXTENSION: Primary producers have been granted an extension for drought assistance applications amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pandemic problems buy time for drought solutions

PRIMARY producers across the state have been offered a lifeline after the Queensland Government announced an extension to those lodging drought assistance applications.

The decision was made in response to the coronavirus pandemic, providing producers an extra six to 12 months to lodge applications.

It's a decision Freestone cattle farmer Bill Gross said couldn't come soon enough.

"I think it was a good move," Mr Gross said.

"For a start, farmers want more money and more grants to try and keep going with the price of everything on the land.

"If you wanted to plant anything, the price of seeds is ridiculous."

In a statement, the Minister for Agricultural Industries Development and Fisheries Mark Furner committed drought support to primary producers during the "unprecedented times".

"I strong encourage you to apply for drought assistance electronically as there most likely will be significant delays in postal claims," Mr Furner said.

"COVID-19 is having an extraordinary impact on our community and economy, and as we respond to these challenges, I want to emphasis that the delivery of drought assistance is considered a critical service."

While the Minister urged those seeking to apply for the application to do so electronically, Mr Gross said it wouldn't be as easy as through the mail.

"We haven't got time to be sorting it out online, we're probably out feeding the cattle," Mr Gross said.

"A lot of people haven't got the emails and a lot of older people in the bush can't follow it anyway.

"So, in the mail would be best."

As challenges grow in day-to-day life for many in the community, Mr Gross attested to the hardship's farmers have had to endure well before the virus outbreak.

"People on the land are stressed out, they don't know what way to turn," he said.

"It's awful, on top of the droughts and bushfires now this.

"Money would be a big help to them anyway."



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