Dec­la­ra­tion to stay

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - Shirley Way

AS CLOUDS have gath­ered and rain fallen across the North Bur­nett, faces lifted to the sky and asked: “How long will the drought dec­la­ra­tion last?”

North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mark Pitt said the drought dec­la­ra­tion was un­der con­stant re­view and more favourable con­di­tions were needed in the near fu­ture for there to be any changes.

So, re­moval of the drought dec­la­ra­tion should be a long way off.

“Whilst the re­cent rain was wel­come, given the close­ness of win­ter we will need favourable con­di­tions through to spring and sum­mer to lift the dec­la­ra­tion,” Mr Pitt said.

Agri­cul­ture, Fish­eries and Forestry Min­is­ter John McVeigh said drought dec­la­ra­tions were made and re­voked on ad­vice from drought com­mit­tees made up of lo­cal pro­duc­ers and in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“The com­mit­tees take into ac­count when the rain fell, how use­ful it was, the con­di­tion of live­stock, pas­ture qual­ity and wa­ter avail­abil­ity,” Mr McVeigh said.

“Be­fore any rec­om­men­da­tion is made of re­vok­ing a dec­la­ra­tion, the com­mit­tee must be con­fi­dent there will be enough pas­ture avail­able to al­low pro­duc­ers to re­stock, and carry them through to the next wet sea­son,” he said.

Each year, drought com­mit­tees as­sess sea­sonal con­di­tions at the end of each wet sea­son, us­ing 12-month rain­fall data from April 1 to March 31.

With the late ar­rival of this year’s wet sea­son, these meet­ings were brought for­ward to mid-March.

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