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Central Qld cattle farmer says Government red tape delays help for drought-stricken regions

By Jessica Nairn and Brock Taylor, Thursday September 19, 2013 - 13:09 EST

A central Queensland cattle farmer says there is too much red tape involved in applying for drought assistance.

Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh yesterday declared parts of the Isaac Regional Council in central Queensland as drought-stricken.

Mr McVeigh says pastures in these areas had held some nutritional value until a few weeks ago when heavy frosts caused the quality of land to deteriorate.

However, cattle farmer Cathie Fernie has welcomed new fodder and water freight subsidies, she says there is too much red tape when applying for drought assistance.

Ms Fernie says her Clermont farm, north of Rockhampton, has had well below the yearly rainfall average and has started supplement feeding earlier than usual.

"To have to access these measures put in place for drought-affected shires, it's very time-consuming and on one side you think it's great, and on the other side it means you have to do all this extra work to be compensated," she said.

She says while the dry conditions might not seem too bad near the coast, the situation is dire further inland.

"My mind just boggles when I see all this grass and driving down the highway to Rockhampton there is still plenty of grass and then back out," she said.

"But once you get past Clermont it's quite depressing to come back out there and the grass department is a long way short of what it should be."

Meanwhile, primary agriculture producers across Queensland will be able to question the new Federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, at the AgForce state conference in Townsville today.

Mr Joyce was sworn in as Minister yesterday.


© ABC 2013

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