Carnarvon growers that were significantly affected by flooding in February will receive the necessary replacement soil thanks to the Western Australian government.
Considerable work has been undertaken by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development to secure suitable soil and manage environmental, heritage and native title issues. Eligible growers will be contacted this week to arrange a replacement of suitable soil to assist recovery from inundation that occurred on production paddocks in the Carnarvon Irrigation Area.
"This soil replacement program - unique to Carnarvon - will help growers affected by the February floods get back on their feet and reposition their businesses on a sound footing for future production," Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said. "This replacement soil will assist affected growers who followed the guidelines developed after the previous major floods to get paddocks back into their production system."
The Carnarvon irrigation area plays an important role in providing quality fresh produce to the domestic market, including tomatoes, capsicums, sweet corn, mangoes, asparagus, melons, bananas, herbs and chillies, worth up to $100 million per annum.
While damage to paddocks was not as widespread as in previous floods, more than 30 growers reported erosion. The soil will be available from the end of this week following a site selection process and will be provided to growers to re-level their paddocks with fertile soil. Ms MacTiernan says that the site selection took into account adherence to the guidelines issued following the last major flood event in Carnarvon.
"We see many growers have already levelled farm tracks and paddocks so annual crop planting can continue, and others who have undertaken remedial action and adopted farm practices to protect their crops from water erosion," she said. "It is important for industry to gather the lessons learned from this flood event and invest in strategies that prevent this threat to production and builds long term business resilience."
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is coordinating the State Government's replacement soil program, which will include a review of Carnarvon flood plain management and the catchment plan to mitigate the impact of future flooding events. The flood plain review will have a strong focus on soil management, with the expectation that growers will implement sustainable conservation practices to reduce the risk of erosion and the need for soil replacement.
Source: Government of Western Australia Press Release
Extraordinary disaster assistance for Southern Downs Primary Producers
Primary producers in Southern Downs can now access Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Grants of up to $75,000 to support their recovery journey from the floods that hit the region in late March. The Australian Government is committed to providing support to the communities facing ongoing challenges as a result of the 2019 monsoon event.
Assistance is being provided through Category C of the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Minister for Emergency Management Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said the DRFA assistance was in addition to the freight subsidies and concessional loans support already available in the Southern Downs local government area.
“The floods in Southern Queensland in late March had a significant impact on primary producers in the Southern Downs region and we are supporting, individuals, businesses and communities in recovery,” Minister McKenzie said. “It’s been a challenge for those farmers who have been battling years of drought to then get hit by floods, leading to a significant loss of income for many, as well as major damage to infrastructure. These extraordinary assistance grants will help those producers most severely impacted get back on their feet, and is a sign of our commitment to ensuring impacted communities receive all the support they need to recover.”
Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the grants were a welcome boost for Southern Downs farmers.
“The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries staff worked closely with the primary producers in the area to ensure they were able to access these special disaster assistance grants,” Mr Furner said. "The activation of the $75,000 grants means Southern Downs joins the neighbouring Goondiwindi local government area in being able to access this funding. The Queensland and Commonwealth governments are committed to working with farmers and supporting them until they are able to get back on their feet. Agriculture is a vital part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan, so this assistance will play an important role in helping flood-impacted producers get back to what they do best.”
Information on disaster assistance can be found on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and the Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s website at www.qra.qld.gov.au.
Source: Queensland Government Press Release