Irrigators won’t see a spike in water prices this year with the State Government announcing a freeze to assist the industry.
Irrigators won’t see a spike in water prices this year with the State Government announcing a freeze to assist the industry.

Farmers given temporary relief on irrigation prices

STANTHORPE farmers will receive temporary relief on their irrigation prices, with the State Government announcing a freeze to help the industry.

Farmers have welcomed the move but were warned it was not a permanent solution.

Granite Belt Drought Assist co-owner Glenda Riley said any support would be welcomed with open arms.

“Any concession that the government is willing to give is considered a gift during this time,” Ms Riley said.

“It be will a hand up to help them get through the next growing season.

“Any support they (farmers) can get to put a crop in to keep them growing and get an income is worthwhile.”

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham said the government would freeze irrigation prices for a year and absorb dam safety costs.

“Our farmers are doing it tough as they deal with the fallout of long-running drought, bushfires, severe weather events, volatile markets and now, the impacts of COVID-19,” Dr Lynham said.

“The government will invest $14.7 million – about $2300 per farmer – in 2020-21 to keep prices low for irrigators.

“In effect, the government’s decision means that irrigators will, on average, be roughly $400 a year better off in 2020-21 than this year.”

Queensland Farmers’ Federation president Allan Dingle thanked the government for finally listening to the concerns of farmers but was disappointed there was not a long-term solution.

“Some irrigation schemes were facing significant cost increases without taking into account irrigators’ ability to pay, while dam safety is a community responsibility and provides no additional benefit to farmers,” Mr Dingle said.

“While the Government has heard and acted on our concerns, we expect them to continue consulting with industry over the next 12 months as they reassess and decide on prices to apply for 2021-22.”

Stanthorpe Border Post

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