Drought affected graziers the first stop for Ag Minister
Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, will conduct his first tour this weekend, meeting with drought affected graziers across the Mount Isa and Georgetown regions.
With reports of some properties struggling with dwindling feed and only a few weeks worth of water in the dams, Minister Joyce said the current conditions required his urgent attention.
“I agreed almost immediately after being appointed agriculture minister that I would make this journey to Queensland to see first-hand the impacts of drought and other financial pressures,” Minister Joyce said.
“This is an important opportunity to hear from people on the ground about how we can best find a solution that benefits rural industries, so farmers have access to the help they need to continue doing what they do best – produce quality food.”
More than 60 per cent of Queensland is currently drought-declared by the state government, a figure that reinforces the significant economic and social impacts being felt, particularly on small businesses in rural communities.
Farmers facing difficulty can currently seek support through the Transitional Farm Family Payment, Rural Financial Counselling Service and Farm Finance, through the Australian Department of Agriculture.
Although the current drought is not as severe as some we’ve had in recent years, it has still delivered a devastating blow to many regions of Queensland.
“I want to see if there is more our government can do. That is why our government committed to talk to industry about the adequateness of drought programs, particularly options for in-drought support,” Minister Joyce said.
“Addressing water infrastructure issues is another important policy lever and I have already held discussions about this with Queensland Minister John McVeigh.
“As Minister for Agriculture, I wish I could order rain, unfortunately I cannot, so I have to do the best job I can to assist in some way to reduce the immense stresses placed on parts of Queensland.
“My trip is to see how we can assist. This is a fact finding mission and it will help me to formulate policy that brings real help to rural Queensland.”