Looking at dis­as­ter sup­port

Grow­com says dis­as­ter re­lief must be­come ‘more dy­namic’

The Western Star - - Rural Weekly - Grow­com CEO DAVID THOMSON

HOR­TI­CUL­TURE grow­ers af­fected by the north and far north Queens­land mon­soon trough ear­lier this year now have access to fi­nan­cial and technical sup­port through Grow­com’s new in­dus­try recovery and re­silience of­fi­cer Jamie Thorn­berry.

Jamie has been ap­pointed, along­side three agri­cul­tural spe­cific recovery of­fi­cers, who have al­ready be­gun help­ing farm­ers in the ini­tial stages of dis­as­ter recovery, as part of the North Queens­land Flood Recovery Project.

We wel­come Queens­land Gov­ern­ment sup­port for this project.

Jamie and his fel­low recovery of­fi­cers will go a long way to­wards help­ing with strate­gic, long-term farm recovery that en­sures farm­ers re­cover faster, stronger and are bet­ter pre­pared for fu­ture events.

While the recovery is on­go­ing it is not too soon to con­sider whether our dis­as­ter man­age­ment re­sponses can be im­proved.

A com­mon ob­ser­va­tion, at least of pre­vi­ous dis­as­ter re­sponses, is that fund­ing has come a long time after the dis­as­ter has re­ceded.

Last year’s straw­berry tam­per­ing in­ci­dent is a good ex­am­ple of how gov­ern­ment sup­port can make all the dif­fer­ence when it’s im­me­di­ate and de­liv­ered flex­i­bly with in­dus­try.

At a re­cent re­view, all par­ties agreed the re­sponse to the straw­berry in­ci­dent pro­vided a num­ber of valu­able lessons, not just in de­liv­ery but in the flex­i­bil­ity of how we define a dis­as­ter.

A se­vere hail storm rip­ping in a nar­row band through a

❝While

the recovery is on­go­ing it is not too soon to con­sider whether our dis­as­ter man­age­ment re­sponses can be im­proved.

rich grow­ing re­gion could prove as much of a dis­as­ter as a drought or flood.

Can these grow­ers ex­pect at least equal access to sup­port as is af­forded those af­fected by larger dis­as­ters?

This is an im­por­tant ques­tion as we move into the sum­mer dis­as­ter sea­son here in Queens­land, and also longer term as we move into an era of greater cli­mate vari­abil­ity.

Our in­dus­try can­not af­ford to wait for another cri­sis to ar­rive be­fore we find the an­swer.

We have an op­por­tu­nity to em­bed more dy­namic dis­as­ter re­sponse sys­tems and pro­cesses for all agricultur­e.

Grow­com, with our mem­bers and other in­dus­try bod­ies, is ready to take up this chal­lenge. ■ Grow­ers af­fected by the north and far north Queens­land Mon­soon Trough and looking to access sup­port can contact Jamie Thorn­berry on 0499 355 225 or at jthorn­[email protected]

grow­com.com.au.

PHOTO: CLAU­DIA BAX­TER

IM­PROVE­MENTS: Grow­com urges the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment to take a look at how it re­sponses to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

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