Southern Downs has been returned to Queensland's drought-declared list.
Southern Downs has been returned to Queensland's drought-declared list. Contributed

BREAKING: Southern Downs now drought declared

THE Southern Downs has been officially drought declared in State Parliament this morning.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said while the percentage of Queensland that was still drought-declared had fallen from 66percent to 57percent, there were still areas of the state doing it tough.

"During the last 12 months much of southern, central and western Queensland continued to receive below to well-below average rainfall," he said.

"A lack of useful spring and summer rainfall over the last four to five years, combined with above average temperatures, continues to have a major impact in most of pastoral Queensland.

"The last twelve months has also been very dry for the Southern Downs and Lockyer Regional Council areas.

"There are significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural domestic water supplies, and I have therefore accepted the local drought committee's recommendations to drought declare these council areas."

Member for Southern Downs James Lister said he thanked the Minister for Primary Industries and the local drought committee for the recognition of the drought plaguing the Southern Downs.

"We've had such a dry summer," he said.

"Hardly any rain has fallen in recent months and many farmers have been unable to plant crops for grain or forage.

"This drought declaration means that primary producers can access a range of support such as concessional loans, subsidies for stock transport, the waiving of certain fees, financial counselling, and community and financial assistance."

"This declaration will be a huge benefit to our agricultural economy and that will have flow on benefits for people working in the agricultural industries, and the small business in our towns and villages."

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