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AU: DAF says Queensland rain caused damage, but has helped state's agriculture
The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) says that, while it is assisting farmers seriously affected by the recent heavy falls and flooding, the rain will have a positive impact for agriculture overall across the state.
It says there have been some impacts on horticultural production areas along the East Coast over the past few days, after the second major downpour in a fortnight brought the region more than 200 millimetres of rain in a two day period. Two weeks ago the area had its wettest October day on record.
"There are impacts to horticultural and sugarcane crops around Bundaberg and North Burnett and there will also be some impacts to Lucerne and winter crops such as chickpeas," a department spokesperson said. "There is also likely to be damage to infrastructure such as fences and roads from the flooding and DAF officers will continue to monitor and report on damage as details become available."
DAF has staff assessing the damage in Gladstone, Bundaberg and North Burnett Regional Council areas where it is safe to do so.
"Although the recent rain is posing challenges for producers and communities in the impacted areas, the rain is being broadly welcomed following a dry winter and a warmer than average September," the spokesperson said. "We still have 66 per cent of the state in drought, areas like Bundaberg and Toowoomba were certainly in need of it."
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman Allan Mahoney told the ABC that supply of summer produce will almost certainly be affected, with a lot of crops under water, as well as fruit drop, erosion and irrigation problems.
"You'd assume there would be shortages from the Bundaberg region, it's just whether other regions can cover our losses," he said. "A lot of spring crops and new plantings are in ready for summer, all the melon varieties, blueberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, some zucchinis, sweet potato, capsicums, there's a massive range of commodities in production."
The damage bill is expected to reach into the millions of dollars for several properties, and DAF says it may not be the last of the wet weather events. But it says those fortunate not to be in the hardest hit areas, actually have benefited from the rain.
"Overall the recent rains will have a positive impact for agriculture with benefits for cane production and pasture growth and more generally with replenishment of water supplies," the spokesperson said. "Many of the dry areas in eastern Queensland have experienced steady rainfall which should be a good start to summer pasture growth. There is a chance of another trough coming in from the west which may bring some rain to outback areas later this week."
Support for those impacted is available under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) for primary producers, small business and not for profit organisations.
"It is aimed at helping producers recover from an event. Consequently the kinds of assistance offered under NDRRA are designed to facilitate recovery," DAF said. "The Queensland Government provides assistance to producers outside of the NDRRA by providing an Individual Disaster Stricken Property (IDSP) activation. Producers who have experienced damage in relation to this event can apply for an Individually Disaster Stricken Property (IDSP). Once a property has an IDSP they have to access to freight subsidies and concessional loans."
For more information visit www.daf.qld.gov.au
or call 13 25 23.
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