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Qld Agriculture Minister John McVeigh open to more drought aid

By Kate Stephens and Virginia Tapp, Wednesday July 24, 2013 - 09:55 EST

Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh has opened the door to increasing drought assistance in the state if conditions worsen.

Mr McVeigh addressed more than 150 graziers yesterday at the North Beef 'Steakholders' forum in Mount Isa in the state's north-west.

He told the the forum the State Government's drought assistance package, which includes rebates for land rent and water infrastructure, was now available to more than 40 per cent of the state.

"Please keep in mind that the Premier and I when we announced that package that we would look at more," he said.

"That we stand ready, willing and able to look at more as conditions unfold and we know at this stage they're not unfolding all that favourably."

Live cattle exports ban 'regrets'

Meanwhile, federal Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon told the forum he regrets the ban to live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011.

Mr Fitzgibbon also addressed the 150-strong crowd at yesterday's forum.

He says the Federal Government and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd are committed to working with the cattle industry.

"Let me acknowledge that the pause of 2011 hurt you or many of you here and continues to hurt many of you here," he said.

"I acknowledge that - I regret the pause - the pause is now history.

"My job as Minister is to work with you all and your industry leaders to get you through those tough times."

More detail needed to find solutions

However, north-west Queensland grazier Marcus Curr says he was disappointed the forum did not find more solutions to the industry's current crisis.

Mr Curr says more detail is needed.

"Just from talking to other people at the forum I think people want to hear the nitty-gritty of how to fix the problem now and probably more talk about Indonesia and more talk about China and more talk about how we can actually fix the problem we've got," he said.

"From what other people have said and by what I got out of that, there wasn't quite enough of that."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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