The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - AGFORCE SURVEY -

I AM con­cerned veg­e­ta­tion laws will im­pact drought man­age­ment and re­cov­ery.

– South­west Queens­land

I BE­LIEVE we will re­cover from this drought if it does not con­tinue for much longer. Seven years with very lit­tle rain in cen­tral­west­ern Queens­land is a long time. If it does not rain we will be in fi­nan­cial trou­ble. We have been able to hold our own so far, but if there is lit­tle rain this com­ing sum­mer the out­look is not good. The bank has been good to us so far and with the help of an ob­jec­tive fi­nan­cial ad­viser we have man­aged so far.

– Cen­tral Queens­land

I STRONGLY feel we need a new ap­proach. Our na­tion grap­ples with how best to fi­nan­cially sup­port farmers se­verely im­pacted by drought and of­ten mea­sures adopted by gov­ern­ment, fairly or un­fairly, at­tract a lot of crit­i­cism from all quar­ters. I feel it would be more ef­fec­tive and sim­pler to em­power farmers to look af­ter them­selves in times of drought. In the same way a tax de­duc­tion is al­lowed for su­per­an­nu­a­tion con­tri­bu­tions, so peo­ple can fund their own re­tire­ment this could be achieved by al­low­ing a tax de­duc­tion for farm loan prin­ci­pal re­pay­ments. Farmers should and would be en­cour­aged to pay down debt (ie in­crease their eq­uity) in the good years and so be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to fund their own drought strate­gies and should not ex­pect nor rely on gov­ern­ment for fi­nan­cial hand­outs.

– South­ern in­land Queens­land

I AM con­cerned about the phys­i­cal work­load my sons are car­ry­ing be­cause we can­not af­ford to em­ploy oth­ers. As well, there is the on­go­ing stress of the con­tin­u­ing ex­tremely dry con­di­tions with the added prob­lem of lack of sup­ply of drought feed­stuffs.

– North­west Queens­land

OUR ma­jor con­cern is suc­ces­sion. This drought has cost big time.

– Cen­tral west Queens­land

I HAVE no con­trol over the weather, and it would seem lit­tle con­trol or in­flu­ence over the gov­ern­ments at any level, so I can only con­trol the things I can con­trol – my head-space, my health, man­age­ment of my grasses, and my fi­nances, and get pre­pared for op­por­tu­ni­ties.

– North­west Queens­land

IT RE­ALLY de­pends so much on how long be­fore it rains. We have not had a wet sea­son since 2012. We have been feed­ing on and off since De­cem­ber 2013. We have taken all our stock on ag­ist­ment in 2016 re­turn­ing in late Oc­to­ber af­ter win­ter rain, but we are out of op­tions, fi­nan­cial re­serves and ground cover. Truly don’t have a clean plan if it doesn’t rain this wet sea­son. We will get a storm that will keep us tick­ing along long enough for an op­tion to arise. But I am not sure we have an­other dry year in us men­tally. No one talks about it, but it has be­come fi­nan­cially, phys­i­cally and men­tally drain­ing. I do know one thing “if our stock sur­vive we sur­vive”.

– North­west Queens­land

AT THE mo­ment we have suf­fi­cient funds be­cause we sold stock early, but they are be­ing used up rapidly. This will im­pact on us se­verely in the next half of the fi­nan­cial year and the one to fol­low. The im­pact of the 2015 drought is still af­fect­ing us as we con­tinue to pay for ag­ist­ment on breed­ers we have not been able to re­turn to their home prop­erty ($150,000 per year.)

– North­west Queens­land.

WE NEED big-pic­ture re­form that al­lows us to make more money in the good sea­sons and there­fore be more re­silient in the dry times. Rea­son­able and fair veg man­age­ment laws, the abil­ity to spread land free hold­ing pay­ments over sev­eral or more years, ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient road and rail trans­port net­works, and lower elec­tric­ity and mo­tor ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion costs would help. We need long-term plan­ning and pol­icy, not band-aid hand­outs.

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