Coun­cil pushes Cen­tral High­land drought dec­la­ra­tion

Central Queensland News - - NEWS -

WITH the Cen­tral High­lands re­ceiv­ing only 52 per cent of the av­er­age an­nual rain­fall so far this year, con­cerns are mount­ing among lo­cal land­hold­ers about pre­vail­ing dry con­di­tions.

On Tues­day, the Cen­tral High­lands Re­gional Coun­cil re­solved to ask the Lo­cal Drought Com­mit­tee to rec­om­mend a drought dec­la­ra­tion sta­tus for the lo­cal gov­ern­ment area.

Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes said the re­gion’s last drought dec­la­ra­tion was re­voked by the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment’s Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries on May 25.

“This was fol­low­ing Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie, which cer­tainly brought good rain­fall to the eastern part of our re­gion,” he said.

“How­ever, the rest of our re­gion didn’t re­ceive any sea­son-chang­ing rain. There was also a lack of rain­fall in au­tumn and win­ter and this has cer­tainly changed pas­toral con­di­tions across the Cen­tral High­lands.”

Cr Hayes said the coun­cil had been ap­proached by a num­ber of land­hold­ers who were con­cerned about the gen­eral con­di­tion of the re­gion, with only 343mm of the av­er­age 650mm recorded this year.

“A nor­mal trig­ger to chang­ing the drought dec­la­ra­tion of any area is largely based on in­di­vid­u­ally de­clared prop­er­ties,” he said.

“As such, we strongly en­cour­age ru­ral land­hold­ers to pur­sue in­di­vid­ual prop­erty drought dec­la­ra­tions to strengthen the case for the en­tire Cen­tral High­lands re­gion.

“The re­gion thrives on agri­cul­ture, from macadamia nuts and chick­peas to cit­rus, wheat and, of course, cat­tle,” he said. “But all of th­ese com­modi­ties need one pre­cious thing, and that’s wa­ter.

“While we’re al­ways hope­ful for a good sum­mer sea­son, there are no guar­an­tees. Any as­sis­tance our land­hold­ers can ac­cess is a bless­ing.”

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