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Cyclone Debbie relief approved for Queensland primary producers after political stoush

By Andree Withey, Friday April 14, 2017 - 14:51 EST

Days of argument between the Queensland and Federal governments over cyclone relief funding has ended with a decision to approve Category C funding for primary producers severely impacted by Cyclone Debbie and the flooding that resulted.

The decision meant farmers from the Whitsundays to the Gold Coast could apply for grants of up $25,000 to help with the clean-up and recovery.

The move comes after a row that erupted on Wednesday when the Commonwealth rejected a request from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to release the funding.

Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said it could not be approved because a letter was sent, rather than a proper submission, .

Mr Joyce accused the Premier and Ms Trad of being "smart alecs" who knew they had done the wrong thing and said his staff would work over Easter to release the funding if a full submission was made.

Queensland Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan welcomed the decision to approve Category C funding.

"It's great common sense has prevailed — but really this is all about making sure we get the assistance to the people that need it and I know that these grants will go a long way to assisting our primary producers with the clean-up and recovery," he said.



At this stage it is not known how many farmers will apply for grants under the joint Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

"Across the agriculture sector, we think the impact of Cyclone Debbie and the associated flooding will be in the vicinity of $450 million," Mr Ryan said.

In the Mackay and Whitsunday region, an initial damage assessment included $300 million in losses to the agricultural and fisheries sectors.

Bowen's horticulture industry sustained losses of about $100 million, the sugar industry sustained a $139 million blow, and there was an estimated $30 million in damage to the beef industry.



Across the south-east, the rain following Cyclone Debbie caused about $35 million in damage to agriculture and fisheries in the council areas of Logan, Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley and the Gold Coast.

Primary producers could check their eligibility via the or call the hotline on 1800 623 946 from Monday.


- ABC

© ABC 2017

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