​Joyce visits cyclone affected Central Queensland

Media Release

28 February 2015

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today visited parts of Central Queensland and met with landholders and communities impacted by Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

The Minister visited Wilson's lettuce farm near Rockhampton, Tropical Pines in Yeppoon and met with people in the surrounding regions of Biloela at a meeting at the Jambin Hotel with Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd, Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry, Member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt and Queensland LNP Senator Matthew Canavan.

"I'm keen to talk with and listen to local producers and agribusinesses such as horticultural and cropping to hear first-hand about the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Marcia. I'm also keen to ensure that we can assist and support communities as they bounce back from this natural disaster to get their lives and businesses back to normal," Minister Joyce said.

"Agriculture is a major industry in Central Queensland, contributing more than $1 billion to the Queensland economy and supporting many thousands of jobs.

"It is critical that we support our fellow Australians at this difficult time, whether they live in town, on the coast or out on stations producing the food and fibre that we all need and which brings so much wealth to our nation."

The Australian Government yesterday announced that the Disaster Recovery Allowance, which provides 13 weeks of income support equivalent to the Newstart Allowance to eligible employees, primary producers and sole traders, would be extended to Central Queensland. This is on top of the Disaster Recovery Payment announced almost immediately following the cyclone for Central Queensland residents, providing a one-off payment of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child in households affected by the disaster.

"The Australian Government has also made additional assistance available under joint Federal and State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) to communities across Central Queensland. NDRRA is delivering a range of assistance including concessional loans and interest subsidies for small businesses and primary producers, transport freight subsidies for primary producers, grants to community groups, restoration of essential public assets and assistance to councils for the cost of preparing for the disaster and clean-up operations," Minister Joyce said.

"The images we have seen on the television were devastating and I wanted to speak directly with people on the ground facing major damage to crops or cleaning up their flooded properties.

"During times of adversity like these, it is so great to see the strong community spirit alive and well in regional Australia as people lend a hand to mates, neighbours and strangers in need," Minister Joyce said today.

For people wishing to make a claim for assistance, please call Commonwealth Government Information Line on 180 22 66 from 8am to 5pm local time, Monday to Friday.