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Queensland drought assistance increases

Virginia Tapp, Tuesday October 15, 2013 - 13:39 EDT
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The Coorabulka road turnoff, east of Boulia in March this year. - ABC

Drought affected graziers across Queensland now have access to an extra $10,000 in rebates for freight and emergency water infrastructure.

The state's rural lobby group AgForce has welcomed the state government's decision to act on some of their suggested changes to the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme.

The Queensland Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh increased the cap on rebates per financial year, made some changes to the eligibility criteria of their drought assistance scheme and is still in negotiations to fast track water infrastructure funds for emergency situations.

AgForce's Chief Executive Officer Charles Burke says it's a good start.

"It shows the government is responding to industry's calls that the drought is worsening and therefore we need to make the relevant changes as we go along.

"We're still talking to state and federal governments about what other potential initiatives we can look at as this drought continues to persist."

Frank McKerrow from Weona Station near Winton says any assistance is positive, but he's not sure they'll be able to take advantage of the additional funds.

He says the way the rebates are calculated means they'd have to spend a lot of money to accumulate $30,000 in rebates in one financial year.

"If you're getting some one to cart fodder for you, you can either get back 50 per cent of the total freight bill or be reimbursed 13 cents per kilometre per tonne of fodder, but you receive whichever is less.

"It's a pittance really but how long is the drought going to go for? It's certainly very nice to be able to get something back, I'm sure it's going to help some people."

"It costs an additional $10,000 a month to run out business in drought, but at least we're in an industry that does get assistance, the shops in town are still feeling the effects of drought but aren't eligible for assistance."

Changes to the Drought Relief Assistance Package also means producers carting water to animals on stock routes will now be eligible for freight rebates.

In order to qualify for additional funds producers must complete an approved drought management plan.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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