DROUGHT DECLARED: Minister for Agriculture, Mark Furner, pictured in Dalby in June, has given drought status to parts of the Western Downs.
DROUGHT DECLARED: Minister for Agriculture, Mark Furner, pictured in Dalby in June, has given drought status to parts of the Western Downs. Sam Flanagan

Drought status awarded to parts of Western Downs

THE WESTERN Downs has been partially drought declared by the State Government.

Queensland Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner, has announced that major towns including Dalby, Chinchilla, Tara and areas around Moonie and Miles were drought declared.

Mr Furner said low rainfall since the Local Drought Committee in April had prompted the move.

"The Western Downs LDC met in April, and based on the improved conditions at the time, recommended that the drought status be revoked based on a number of useful rainfall events between October 2017 and March 2018 for the majority of the shire, which had led to improved pasture growth, cropping outlooks and property water supplies,” he said.

"Unfortunately since then, there has been a significant and rapid deterioration in seasonal conditions in the eastern part of the council region, which prompted the Western Downs LDC to meet again to review current conditions.

"The area around Dalby has received well below, or no rainfall since April, warmer than average daytime temperatures and some quite severe frost events.”

Mr Furner said the areas which fell outside of the drought declaration should apply for the government's individual exemption.

"I'd like to stress that even if a producer lives in a shire that is not drought declared, they can apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration which gives them access to the same relief assistance,” he said.

Map of the Western Downs showing rainfall in the last 12 months. The blue line highlights the drought declared area.
Map of the Western Downs showing rainfall in the last 12 months. The blue line highlights the drought declared area. Queensland Government

Western Downs mayor Paul McVeigh welcomed the decision made by the State Government.

"Whilst the drought declaration made today in state Parliament for some parts of the Western Downs Regional Council area is certainly helpful, what we really need is widespread rain,” Cr McVeigh said.

"However ,this will mean that those in some parts of the Western Downs can get access to the support they require.

"Conditions are very poor in some parts of the region and despite all our prayers, the rain hasn't come and this has put people under a great deal of pressure both financially and emotionally so this will alleviate that for some.”


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