DEALING OUT DEATH ON A DAILY BASIS
PETER Clark signed up to be a farmer, not an executioner.
Nowadays he gets up every morning and shoots the roos that are bogged in his dried dam. It’s a mercy.
There are more than 140 corpses there now – corpses he doesn’t have the strength to pull out.
Drought is hard. Destocking is harder.
Harder still is being told it’s not a real drought.
You’d think it were obvious: these people need help.
WHEN Cath and Paul Curran heard the Federal Government had not immediately drought-declared Barcoo Shire, they were dumbfounded.
“If it’s good enough for the state, why not good enough for the Federal Government?” Cath asked.
The shires found out last month they had missed out on federal drought funding – even though they have been drought declared for years – because the federal government doesn’t have up to date weather data. It means they are not eligible for millions worth of assistance.
“If they’ve not got that data on rainfall, then they need to invest in the shire and get data on rainfall.”
Cath said the situation was bad on their property.
“We have kangaroos eating (cardboard) boxes.
“Sometimes we bring our groceries back in (cardboard) boxes.
“There’s not much nutrition in that, but that’s the best they can do.
“It’s pretty ordinary here at the moment.”
Barcoo Shire Mayor Julie Groves said they were working through the issue with local federal member for Maranoa Bruce Scott.
“I know the Local Government Association of Queensland has been following it up,” Mayor Groves said.
“They still haven’t received any notification as well, we just have to wait and see.
“(We have to) wait for them to make the decision.
“When you travel around and just see the situation that these shires are in.
“It just seems to be a bit ridiculous.”
Mayor Groves said what was even more outrageous was that graziers in the area were eligible for drought assistance.
“As a grazier they’re eligible but as the council they’re not,” she said.
“There’s water infrastructure funding.”
Quilpie Shire Mayor Stuart Mackenzie spoke out last week, calling the existing system “convoluted”.
He told the ABC a state drought declaration should have been enough.
“If that declaration still stands now, which in most situations still does, surely that is enough criteria to base these fundings on,” he said.
“If you look on the website which shires were drought declared in 2013 and still are, they are all the shires that are in that area that should receive the support.”
Cr Groves summed up the problem.
“Why are there different criteria between State and Federal governments?” she asked.
Last month the MP Bruce Scott said many remote areas did not have Bureau of Meteorology official monitoring stations and therefore the Federal Government did not have enough information about some areas to address the funding criteria.
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