9 November 2023

QLD and Federal Governments announce more support for bushfire-impacted residents and producers

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Black Summer Bushfires

Residents and primary producers across QLD are eligible for disaster assistance funding. Photo: File.

The Queensland and Federal Governments have announced three joint packages of relief funding to assist Queensland residents and primary producers affected by ongoing bushfire activity across the state.

The packages are available through the joint Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) to residents of Tablelands Regional Council and Mareeba Shire Council in North Queensland, and nine local government areas across central and southern Queensland.

The funding includes personal hardship assistance grants of $180 in immediate individual assistance and up to $900 for families of five or more to cover items such as clothing, medicine and food items. Uninsured residents can access income-tested grants up to $5000 per household through the Essential Services Safety and Reconnection Scheme to inspect and reconnect damaged services such as electricity, gas and water.

In the Tablelands Regional Council, grants are available to residents of Herberton, Innot Hot Springs, Kalunga, Millstream, Moomin, Mount Garnet, as well as Silver Valley, and Irvinebank and Watsonville in the Mareeba Shire Council area.

“We understand the impact this has on communities, and the Albanese and Palaszczuk Governments are continuing to work together to provide help to those impacted by fires,” Federal Minister for Emergency Management Senator Murray Watt said in a statement.

“This support will help impacted locals with emergency assistance to get back on their feet, including for food, clothing and reconnecting power and water at home.”

Primary producers in Central and Southern Queensland can also apply for concessional interest rate loans to help replace or repair assets that have been significantly damaged, including loss of significant income, enabling them to recover and return to viable operations.

Impacted primary producers can also apply for freight subsidies to assist with transporting livestock, fodder or water for livestock, along with building, fencing equipment or machinery to the primary producer’s home property.

The areas affected include the Bundaberg, Central Highlands, Gladstone, Maranoa, North Burnett, South Burnett, Southern Downs, Toowoomba and Western Downs Regional Council areas.

READ ALSO Bushfire disaster assistance offered for affected Western and Darling Downs residents

“Local councils and first responders have done a remarkable job protecting their communities and I commend them for their efforts to date,” QueenslandActing Premier Steven Miles said.

“We will continue to work closely with the Albanese Government as parts of southern Queensland, particularly primary producers, move from emergency response to recovery.”

In addition to emergency funding, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), AgForce and Rural Aid have come together to organise an emergency shipment of some 360 large square bales of fodder to be delivered to regions hit by bushfires.

Fodder was delivered last weekend to Ban Ban Springs, Eidsvold, Toondahra and Durong (32 bales), while an additional road train provided much-needed fodder to Southern Downs on Tuesday (7 November).

Primary producers can also access disaster assistance loans up to $250,000 and freight assistance up to $5000.

Queensland Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said fodder had been delivered to more than 50 primary producers.

“There is a wide range of disaster assistance available to affected farmers, and I urge them to reach out and use it,” he said. “Producers who have been affected by the bushfires are strongly encouraged to fill out a Disaster Impact Survey so their need can be properly assessed and prioritised.

“So Far more than 100 surveys have been completed and that has been critical to making sure we get the right help to the right places.”

For more information on disaster assistance, eligibility and how to apply visit www.qld.gov.au/disasterhelp, while information on DRFA support is available at the Queensland Reconstruction Authority website.

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