Three months this week since Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie took toll

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE -

THIS week marks three months since Cy­clone Deb­bie rav­aged parts of Queens­land and Queens­land Farm­ers Fed­er­a­tion president Stu­art Ar­mitage said the re­cov­ery process had been dif­fi­cult both emo­tion­ally and fi­nan­cially.

“It is heart­en­ing to see that 548 Queens­land farm­ers have al­ready re­ceived the nat­u­ral dis­as­ter re­cov­ery grants, with a com­bined val­ued over $3.3 mil­lion,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

“The QRAA should be com­mended for its pos­i­tive en­gage­ment with af­fected farm­ers and the timely ad­min­is­tra­tion of avail­able grants.

“But, it has been dis­ap­point­ing that the State Gov­ern­ment hasn’t been as proac­tive as we would have liked.”

Mr Ar­mitage said there were plenty of signs that the agri­cul­tural sec­tor was mak­ing con­sid­er­able progress mov­ing ahead though.

“Most re­cov­ery pro­cesses and de­ci­sions are made in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, as farm­ers try to re­cover their busi­ness and restart pro­duc­tion and farm op­er­a­tions,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

“So in­vest­ment in ‘bet­ter­ment’ ac­tiv­i­ties makes sense and will in­crease re­silience within the sec­tor.”

QFF is calling for the adop­tion of the ‘shovel ready’ agri­cul­tural re­cov­ery pro­gram that de­ploys in­dus­try re­cov­ery of­fi­cers im­me­di­ately after a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter so they can pro­vide sup­port and tech­ni­cal ad­vice.

“An­other is­sue that needs a for­ward think­ing, whole of gov­ern­ment ap­proach is the fu­ture of nat­u­ral dis­as­ter re­lief and re­cov­ery ar­range­ments,” Mr Ar­mitage said.

“This is an ex­pen­sive fund­ing com­mit­ment for gov­ern­ments and it is evolv­ing, as NDRRA fund­ing con­tin­ues to be tight­ened.”

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