May 16, 2022
South Burnett mayor Brett Otto wrote to State and Federal MPs last week pleading for help for farmers who lost topsoil in this year’s floods.
“QRIDA is rejecting applications from farmers who want to undertake topsoil replacement through the application of feedlot manure,” the Mayor said at the time.
“This is despite farmers confirming with QRIDA that it was to rehabilitate the soil which had been washed away and suffered significant nutrient losses from prolonged water immersion.”
Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington pressed for the same assistance for farmers back in March, and received an assurance from Deputy Premier Steven Miles that there were circumstances when applications to purchase manure and compost were eligible for support.
On March 22, Mrs Frecklington wrote to Dr Miles saying that primary producers applying for recovery grants in the wake of damage caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth and flooding in early January had expressed concerns that it was not clear within the guidelines as to whether they could claim for the costs of compost and manure.
“Producers who have experienced prolonged flooding over their fields, or who now have erosion from the force of the water, wish to apply compost or manure in some circumstances in order to restructure the soil,” Mrs Frecklington wrote.
“However, some producers have been told the application of compost or manure is ineligible as it is classified as fertiliser.
“This is creating confusion and reduces producers’ confidence to plan for their recovery projects.
“I note that a similar issue was encountered following the 2013 floods and at that time it was decided to include compost and manure as an eligible activity.
“It is important for compost and manure be included again, as it is a way for farmers to restructure soil which has been affected by floods, and prepare soil so it is ready to receive fertiliser.”
The Deputy Premier replied on April 1, stating that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Queensland Rural Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) had reviewed Mrs Frecklington’s inquiry about the eligibility of the purchase of manure and compost as part of repairing and restoring fields.
“I am advised there are circumstances where the purchase of manure and compost would be eligible, where it is required to improve soil quality to its former condition,” Dr Miles wrote.
“It is important to note the criteria and eligibility requirements for these grants are set by the Commonwealth under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Should your constituents have any further questions about those grants, they are welcome to contact QRIDA directly on 1800-623-946.”
- Related article: Mayor Calls For Flood Recovery Fix