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Agriculture minister still working through drought policy

Charlie McKillop, Thursday December 10, 2015 - 15:31 EDT
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Cattle standing in a bare paddock, north of Julia Creek, Queensland. - ABC

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says while he is working through new rural drought assistance and debt relief measures he is not yet ready to announce any particular policies.

The comments come as Queensland's Agriculture Minister John McVeigh yesterday on the Country Hour alluded to the federal government possibly announcing further drought assistance within days.

Mr Joyce says he will be back in Queensland at the end of next week.

"It's extremely important that I get the feedback on the ground so the work I do in Canberra assists people in getting though this drought.

"I don't want to be too prescriptive in what may or may not be in the announcement, nonetheless I am working hard with my department to get something that will assist."

AgForce CEO Charles Burke supports Barnaby Joyce's approach to look at a variety of elements when coming up with a drought plan.

"No one, single policy initiative that will assist in these circumstances, so certainly he is saying all the right things in that we have to look at this is a holistic way.

"We also need to acknowledge that in an event like we are experiencing at the moment, the best plans, the best initiatives cannot prepare some of us for what we are experiencing now."

The number of local government areas drought-declared in Queensland has risen to 26, with a further eight partially declared.

Properties to the west of the Landsborough highway between Longreach and Winton and to the north of the Thompson developmental road are included in the latest declaration.

This means property owners can access 50 per cent freight subsidies on fodder and water as well as water infrastructure - up to a value of $20 000 dollars.

While some of these landholders have already received their full land rent notices, they will be eligible for a rebate on any rent increases.


- ABC

© ABC 2015

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