New drought ap­peal to help our gra­ziers

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Premier’s new Queens­land Drought Ap­peal should model it­self on the suc­cess of the com­mu­nity-led Western Queens­land Drought Ap­peal, Mem­ber for Gre­gory Lach­lan Millar said.

Mr Millar said the Western Queens­land Drought Ap­peal was set up after the Premier re­fused his re­quest three years ago for a Queens­land Drought Ap­peal to pro­mote and dis­trib­ute mon­e­tary do­na­tions.

“I con­grat­u­late the Premier for com­ing to the ta­ble and sup­port­ing our farm­ers and gra­ziers through­out ru­ral Queens­land, but it’s im­por­tant that we en­sure that the money raised is ef­fec­tively sup­port­ing the whole ru­ral com­mu­nity,” he said.

“Over the last three years the Western Queens­land Drought Ap­peal has de­liv­ered over $1 mil­lion to droughtaf­fected pri­mary pro­duc­ers and their fam­i­lies in 18 re­mote shires across north, south and cen­tral western Queens­land.”

Mr Millar said small busi­ness op­er­a­tors were not el­i­gi­ble for Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance, so they are re­ally hit hard.

“We are in our sev­enth year of drought in western Queens­land. The whole ba­sis of the lo­cal economies would have evap­o­rated with­out the Western Queens­land Drought Ap­peal. It has been cal­cu­lated that ev­ery dol­lar dis­trib­uted cir­cu­lates seven times in the lo­cal economies. So we are mak­ing those do­na­tions work very hard,” he said.

“If we are to have vi­able com­mu­ni­ties after the drought we need to keep the gen­eral gro­cers, the hard­ware mer­chant, the newsagent, the lo­cal tradies such as the me­chanic and the elec­tri­cian, the butcher and the plumber go­ing.

“I hope the new Queens­land Drought Ap­peal Fund will pro­mote the do­na­tion of cash for drought re­lief and urge the Premier to look at what’s al­ready work­ing.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

DRY PAS­TURE: Mem­ber for Gre­gory Lach­lan Millar, Win­ton gra­zier John Paine and Queens­land Op­po­si­tion agri­cul­ture spokesman Tony Per­rett.

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