Emma Channon

Drought watch on region

STATE Government authorities are keeping a close watch on areas of Queensland that have not yet been drought declared.

And while cane growers are looking at a reduced harvest unless there is significant rain soon, Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman Geoff Chivers said if it were not for Paradise Dam the region would be in serious trouble.

With much of the state officially in drought, Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said he received regular advice from Local Drought Committees in all regions to make new drought declarations.

"These committees are made up of local producers, industry representatives, often local council representatives, and are chaired by Climate Risk co-ordinators from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry," he said.

They assessed seasonal conditions in late April across the state at the end of the wet season using 12-month rainfall data from April 1 to March 31.

"However I have brought forward these meetings to March as the wet season is already late," Mr McVeigh said.

He said anyone outside a drought-declared shire could apply for drought assistance under an Individual Droughted Property declaration by calling 132523.

This gave farmers access to the same level of support as if the shire was fully drought declared.

Mr Chivers said while he knew cane growers were suffering, most orchardists and vegetable grower had good water allocations.

"But we would certainly love to have some decent rain," he said.

"It would boost crops."



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