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Drought Status Revoked

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Agriculture Minister Mark Furner

May 17, 2018

Summer rain has led to the State Government revoking the drought-declared status for the Gympie, North Burnett and Western Downs regional council areas.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said he had accepted the recommendations of local drought committees to revoke the drought status.

Other regions to be removed from the drought list are: Bundaberg, Burdekin, Fraser Coast and Tablelands regional council areas; Townsville City Council; the western portion of Banana Shire Council, the northern part of Charters Towers Regional Council and the declared portion of Mareeba Shire Council.

However, more than half of Queensland still remains in the grips of the long dry spell as the State enters its sixth year of drought.

“At the peak of the drought in March last year, 88 per cent of Queensland was drought-declared,” Mr Furner said.

“I’m pleased to announce that falls earlier this year have helped drop the drought-declared areas down from more than 66 per cent to 57 per cent.

“I want to stress that any producer who is experiencing difficult conditions in the revoked areas, or in any Council area that is not drought-declared, can apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration.

“This gives them the same access to our drought assistance as an area declaration.

“We will review the 80 IDPs in 10 other council areas that we have in the coming weeks.”

Mr Furner said unfortunately, not all of Queensland had received welcome rain.

“During the last 12 months much of southern, central and western Queensland continued to receive below to well-below average rainfall,” he said.

“A lack of useful spring and summer rainfall over the last four to five years, combined with above average temperatures, continues to have a major impact in most of pastoral Queensland.

“The last 12 months has also been very dry for the Southern Downs and Lockyer Regional Council areas.

“There are significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural domestic water supplies, and I have therefore accepted the local drought committee’s recommendations to drought-declare these council areas.”

Mr Furner advised producers in any drought-declared area who believed their property conditions were improved enough to allow restocking could have their property individually revoked.

“If their drought declaration is revoked, producers can access returning from agistment and restocking freight subsidies through the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) for up to two years after the end of the drought declaration,” he said.

“However, to be eligible for these subsidies producers must ensure their property’s drought declaration is first revoked before introducing any livestock.”

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