Re­lief re­quest for cit­rus farms

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS - ❏ Bran­don Livesay

NAT­U­RAL dis­as­ter re­lief for Gayn­dah’s cit­rus in­dus­try is still un­cer­tain.

Mayor Don Waugh has writ­ten a let­ter to Min­is­ter for Po­lice and Com­mu­nity Safety Jack Dempsey, for­mally re­quest­ing a dec­la­ra­tion for ac­ti­va­tion of the Nat­u­ral Dis­as­ter Re­lief and Re­cov­ery Ar­range­ments.

The North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil re­quested the ar­range­ments Cat­e­gory D – Ex­tra­or­di­nary Spe­cial As­sis­tance be sup­ported.

“The storm event of De­cem­ber 18 will have se­vere im­pacts on the com­mu­nity, was unique in its cir­cum­stances and there is need for (help) be­yond the stan­dard suite of NDRRA as­sis­tance,” Cr Waugh wrote.

Typ­i­cally, Gayn­dah cit­rus has a $46 mil­lion gross value for the North Bur­nett re­gion.

The hail storm caused about a $30m loss.

“(And) the re­gional im­pact could be in the vicin­ity of $210m,” Cr Waugh wrote.

“The sig­nif­i­cance of this event will also im­pact the ex­port mar­ket for this fruit and there­fore have a flow-on im­pact on the state and na­tional mar­kets.”

Lo­cal em­ploy­ment would also suf­fer, he said, with prop­er­ties un­able to em­ploy the usual num­ber of pickers, pack­ers and thin­ners.

Cr Waugh said one par­tic­u­lar prop­erty had suf­fered 95% dam­age and would no longer be able to em­ploy 62 work­ers full-time for six months. He said there were five prop­er­ties with 100% fruit loss and 15 with 50 – 100% fruit loss.

“This dec­la­ra­tion is for an in­dus­try that was se­verely im­pacted by a storm event that will have reper­cus­sions for many years to come,” CrWaugh wrote.

“To not only this re­gion, but the state and the na­tion.”

DAM­AGED FRUIT: The cost of last year’s hail storm is on­go­ing for Gayn­dah cit­rus pro­duc­ers.

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