NO CHANGE: The total area of Queensland that is drought-declared remains unchanged at 67.4 per cent.
NO CHANGE: The total area of Queensland that is drought-declared remains unchanged at 67.4 per cent.

Rainfall fails to impact drought declared area

DESPITE the region’s welcome rainfall earlier this year, the total area of Queensland that is drought-declared remains unchanged at 67.4 per cent.

Granite Belt Drought Assist co-owner Glenda Riley described February to March’s rainfall as a “reprieve”, saying “the drought as we know it is far from over”.

“Nothing has changed,” Ms Riley said.

Granite Belt Drought Assist co-owner Glenda Riley. Picture: Sandra McEwan
Granite Belt Drought Assist co-owner Glenda Riley. Picture: Sandra McEwan

“There is still that sense of need from the community.

“It was a temporarily relief that we needed, yes, but things haven’t changed in terms of the drought.”

With that said, it’s business as usual for the team at Granite Belt Drought Assist.

“We will continue to give water to those who need it.

“There are still plenty of rural residents who are reaching out to us saying they need water, food and fodder.”

Windmills at Yangan. Picture: Glenda Riley
Windmills at Yangan. Picture: Glenda Riley

Ms Riley said she was confident the community would continue to battle the devastating impacts of the drought.

“As a community we have to work together. That is the only way we are going to come out the other side of this.”

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said it was a lack of follow-up rainfall which failed to change the drought declaration.

“There has been limited pasture growth, failed winter and summer crops in many areas,” Mr Furner said.

Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner. Picture: Liam Kidston
Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner. Picture: Liam Kidston

“As well as significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural domestic water supplies moving forward into our normally dry winter period.”

Mr Furner said the lack of rain, combined with well above-average temperatures in 2019 and early this year, meant there had been a serious impact on the state’s agricultural production.

“One bright note is that the seasonal climate outlook for winter and potentially into spring is looking more optimistic, especially compared to this time last year,” he said.

He also announced the planned reforms to drought programs, scheduled for this year, would be delayed due to the impact of coronavirus.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Storm King Dam last year with Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner and Southern Downs councillors Cameron Gow, Marika McNichol and Vic Pennisi.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Storm King Dam last year with Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner and Southern Downs councillors Cameron Gow, Marika McNichol and Vic Pennisi.

“With so much of our focus on COVID-19 while having to maintain high levels of ongoing drought support we are postponing the implementation of Drought Program Reforms until 1 July 2021.

“These measures were based on agreed recommendations of the Independent Panel Drought Program Review and will improve drought and climate risk preparedness for future droughts and better align Queensland with the National Drought Agreement.”

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