Column by Stuart Armitage, Queensland Farmers’ Federation President
Its more than five weeks since Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit the north Queensland coast, and we now have a better understanding of the impact on Queensland farmers. As is often the case with these intense systems, some farmers received much needed soaking rain; but overall Debbie’s impact has been quite devastating. The damage bill for the sector has been reported by the government at $450 million. Farmers from the Whitsunday region in the north, down to the NSW border in the south east have been impacted. This figure will increase as longer term production losses for the next and subsequent seasons become clearer for many farmers.
The good news is that even though sugar cane, fruit and vegetable, nursery and garden, beef, grains, dairy, cotton, flowers, pork and egg producers all felt the brunt of Cyclone Debbie, assistance is already being delivered and the recovery process is well and truly underway.
Industry should be commended for its proactive response to this latest event. All industries pulled together to support farmers in the initial relief stages of the disaster and worked tirelessly to collect the data from those farmers affected throughout the state during the challenging aftermath period. The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) in coordination with its member organisations played a key role informing governments of the impact on our sector and how best to support it in the immediate and longer term.
The ‘impact assessment’ information gathered by industry was used to determine the state and federal assistance now available through the Category C declarations in affected regional council areas. As at 28 April 2017, 191 farmers had applied for the $25,000 Exceptional Circumstances Grants coordinated by QRAA to assist them get … Continue reading Cyclone Debbie – where are we now?