Relief request for citrus farms
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.