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Queensland Government offers aid package for cyclone-hit farmers

Craig Zonca, Wednesday April 16, 2014 - 15:35 EST
ABC licensed image
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman tours a banana plantation damaged by Cyclone Ita in the Hope Vale Aboriginal community in Far North Queensland on April 13, 2014. - ABC licensed

,Queensland primary producers hit by Tropical Cyclone Ita will now be able to apply for disaster recovery funding.

Tropical Cyclone Ita carved a long trail of destruction along the Queensland coast, with close to 90 per cent of Queensland's cane farmers experiencing crop damage.

Production losses in the sugar industry alone are estimated to be as high as 30 per cent in some areas.

Banana growers in the State's far north were also hit hard, as were fruit and vegetable producers in the Bowen district.

The Queensland Agriculture Minister, John McVeigh, has today announced farmers in the worst-affected areas will now have access to Category B financial assistance under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Producers will be able to apply for freight subsidies to a maximum of $5,000 and concessional loans of up to $250,000, at an interest rate of 1.7 per cent, for the purpose of covering on-farm repairs and operational expenses.

The funding will be available to farmers in the following 16 council areas: Burdekin, Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Cook, Douglas, Hinchinbrook, Hope Vale, Lockhart River, Mackay, Mareeba, Palm Island, Tablelands, Townsville, Whitsunday, Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah.

Mr McVeigh made the announcement while on a tour to Bowen, Ingham and Hope Vale to inspect the agricultural impact of Tropical Cyclone Ita and subsequent flooding.

"The damage has been reasonably severe it seems in some of those local areas.

"There's no doubt about it, the Herbert cane industry is the part of the industry that has copped it the most," says Mr McVeigh.

Affected producers are encouraged to contact the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority for more information on 1800 623 946 or to visit their .


© ABC 2014

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