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Floods force farmers to shed jobs

By Jesse Dorsett, Tuesday February 19, 2013 - 11:13 EDT

Farmers in southern Queensland say they are being forced to lay off staff after last month's devastating flood.

Crops in the state's 'citrus capital', Mundubbera, south-west of Bundaberg, were badly damaged when the Burnett River broke its banks.

Government assistance packages are available but some primary producers say they cannot afford more debt.

Mundubbera citrus farmer Troy Voss says he has had to sack staff during the clean-up because he is losing money.

"There certainly is enough labour but being able to pay people is the problem," he said.

"I had 30 staff until Friday - I've had to let them go which is heartbreaking.

"I've never had to ask anyone to leave for a reason like that before."

Government assistance is available but Mr Voss says his family is struggling to continue.

"My parents and me and my brother, we're all hard workers but we just can't afford more debt when we've lost roughly 50 per cent of our orchard.

"All of a sudden our equity is gone, so another loan just really isn't helpful."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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