No relief for North Burnett
Farmers have not applied for assistance since cyclone
NORTH Burnett farmers looking for support following the floods caused by Cyclone Debbie have been left wanting from State Government relief.
Eligibility for disaster relief is based on damage to the region as a whole and the North Burnett did not meet the criteria for Category C funding, which included Whitsunday-Mackay, the Clarke Creek area of central Queensland, and the most heavily flooded areas of south-east Queensland.
Category C relief would have allowed producers to apply for a clean up and recovery grant of up to $25,000.
While the North Burnett may have fared better than most, it’s small comfort to farmers who have had their livelihoods affected.
Monto producer Robert Nowland’s property was severely affected by the floods, and when he called QRAA to seek support, they couldn’t help.
“I’m still fixing fences from the flood, I’ve had 22 head of cows and calves wandering into the neighbour’s yard,” Mr Nowland said.
“I saved a few pumpkins but all my veggies washed away and I’m only just now starting to replant.”
Farmer Jason Larsen said it’s possible the flood’s effect on the drought may have been a factor.
“For many of us, we went from drought to flooded in just a few days,” Mr Larsen said.
According to a spokesperson from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, as of May 22 no primary producers from the North Burnett Regional Council area had applied for Category B Assistance from QRAA or the DAF.
Producers are eligible to apply for Category B, which includes natural disaster recovery loans of up to $250,000, working capital loans of up to $100,000, and freight subsidies of up to $5,000.
North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers said the council worked with DAF officers to tour the worst affected farms, which led to the decision to activate Category A and B funding, but not
“The Cyclone Debbie event did impact producers but overall cost across industry sectors did not meet the requirements of Category C,” Cr Chambers said.
“Even without the region wide announcement of Category C in exceptional circumstances it is possible for individual producers to receive that level of support.
“Council is working with a couple of local producers to apply for the measures.”