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Central Queensland growers bounce back from last year's fires

Central Queensland growers are looking at a bumper season, which is quite a feat if we look back at the situation they faced just 12 months ago.

For example, Bungundarra pineapple grower Barry Brooks lost more than $500,000 in machinery, 100,000 ripe pineapples, and his entire mango production in the Cobraball bushfires in the Queensland shire of Livingstone. Brooks said while recovery had been hampered by COVID-19 machinery production delays, he should be back on track financially by February.

Despite the hardship the family faced, this year the farm will grow half a million more pineapples than usual, and weather conditions were improving. "Last year we never had any rain this time of year, but this reminds me of my youth — this is the weather we had every year," Brooks said. "We should produce bigger and better pineapples in the new year."

In the 12 months since bushfire tore through Cobraball, more than $1 million of government funding has been spent on roads and infrastructure projects. Livingstone Shire Mayor Andy Ireland said the fire had also highlighted the need for a regulated space between vegetation and structures.

"Ultimately we need fences around swimming pools to make them safe," he told "We are saying we need that gap distance between vegetation and homes in rural areas to provide a degree of protection from bushfire."

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