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McVeigh gets first-hand look at drought-hit regions

By Kate Stephens, Chrissy Arthur and Bernadette Young, Wednesday May 8, 2013 - 17:17 EST
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Drought-ravaged paddock near Stonehenge, south-west of Longreach in April, 2013. - ABC

Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh has toured drought-affected areas in the state's west this week.

Mr McVeigh has visited several shires after one-third of Queensland was drought declared last month, including stops in Cloncurry, east of Mount Isa, and Cunnamulla in the Paroo Shire, west of Toowoomba

He says it is worrying to see how bad the situation is this early into the dry season.

"The best way to sum it up is to look at country that you'd expect to see in this condition in say October, before the wet season comes again - here we are in May - haven't really got into winter yet and we're seeing country that's in a poor and obviously dry condition," he said.

"It's got an impact for all of us over the coming months until the next wet season that everyone's very much looking forward to."

Paroo Mayor Lindsay Godfrey says it has been well over a year since there has been decent rain or a run in local rivers and water supplies are drying up.

He says it is vital there is a recognition in city areas of how serious the drought has become and how it is affecting country towns.

"Everything just stopped here virtually last February or March," he said.

"We are into this drought - but in the public eye, people in the capital cities - wouldn't be aware of just how dry it is out here - they are still thinking about floods.

"Trying to convince the wider population at large of just how things have changed in the bush is going to be a key issue for us."


© ABC 2013

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