February 8, 2013
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has established a team of 12 Flood Recovery Liaison Officers to work with local communities as they begin the huge task of rebuilding farming enterprises and associated businesses after the recent floods.
In the South Burnett, the officer will be Damien O’Sullivan who can be contacted on (07) 4160-0700 or 0459-812-261.
In the Gympie council area, the contact is Jason Keating (07) 5480-4428 or 0411-271-674; and in the North Burnett, Tim Grant (07) 4161-4000 or 0428-761-482.
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said the 12 DAFF staff had been chosen based on their expertise and long-standing links with their local communities.
“The team will act as a local, single point of contact for the department and will work closely with local government and industry groups,” Mr McVeigh said.
“We want to facilitate local solutions to local problems, while using all of the resources DAFF can provide.”
Mr McVeigh said the State Government was also providing on the ground support to flood-affected producers with two farm financial counsellors and a citrus extension officer engaged to help growers in Gayndah and other flood impacted areas.
“In line with our stated policy in the face of natural disasters, we are temporarily employing two farm financial counsellors based in Kingaroy and Gympie until mid-year,” Mr McVeigh said.
“There are also rural financial counsellors in Warwick, Gatton, Mundubbera and Coalstoun Lakes who are funded under a separate Commonwealth scheme.
“In Gayndah, where the floods have caused so much damage to orchards, respected citrus extension officer John Owen-Turner is coming out of retirement to work with growers and help them in their recovery.”
Mr McVeigh said DAFF had also sent its three mobile offices out into the worst-affected areas.
“Two have already visited towns in the Biloela, Monto and Gayndah-Mundubbera areas with the third on its way down from North Queensland to the Fassifern and Lockyer Valleys,” he said.
“DAFF will continue to provide this mobile office service in regional communities over the next few weeks to give advice and information to producers who have been affected by flooding.
“People can pick up hard copies of materials relating to government assistance from the mobile office, because I understand that power has still not been restored in many areas.
“The mobile offices get information straight to producers, especially when many still do not have power or internet access.”