AgForce has welcomed the long-awaited launch of Queensland’s new drought programs – set to help all producers make the right decisions for their businesses.
The biggest ever reform to the State’s drought assistance was announced today by Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner, following a five-year AgForce campaign to lobby government for greater support for our farming community.
New drought assistance programs will focus on greater preparedness and business resilience for a broader range of eligible Queensland primary producers.
Under the new drought assistance guidelines, producers will no longer need a drought declaration to access drought preparedness assistance, which will be available anytime.
AgForce CEO Mike Guerin said he was delighted to see for the first time that all producers and landholders will be eligible for drought assistance, enabling them to build resilience for the future.
“It’s wonderful to see that the programs have adopted many of the key principles found in AgForce’s foundation drought policy the Agricultural Business Cycle,” he said.
“Key to this assistance is that preparation work will be available at all times, regardless of drought declaration status.
“We believe Queensland landholders will feel empowered to make the right decisions for their business, at the right time, and for the first time everyone will be able to receive assistance – including grain and cane farmers.
“In addition, all producers will continue to be supported in times of drought, with the announcement of interest free emergency loans and other larger carry-on finance facilities.”
AgForce will continue to monitor the rollout and implementation of these programs to ensure that AgForce members, whether they produce cane, cattle, grain, or sheep and wool, will be well supported to prepare for and endure drought.
Mr Guerin added: “Welcome recent rains in many areas have provided some respite and hope of a good summer wet season; however, recovery from up to seven years of drought cannot happen overnight and 66 per cent of the State is still in drought.
“Compared to other sectors of the economy, Australian agriculture operates in a highly variable business environment, with dry periods a recurring feature.
“This new suite of programs recognises the importance of preparation, with support for farm businesses across all four phases of the drought cycle: ‘Normal’, ‘Drying’, ‘Dry’, and ‘Recovery’, enhancing our industry’s people, their businesses, and the landscape – an approach that supports both commercial and human resilience.
“AgForce will of course be there every step of the way for our members, to not only guide them through the detail, but to ensure they understand how they can best access these programs and put themselves in the best position possible to combat not only this current drought, but to withstand future droughts when they arise.”
For media comments contact: AgForce CEO Michael Guerin 0488 002 092