Northern Queensland has been experiencing monsoonal rain and flooding which is impacting farmers in the region and causing damage to key infrastructure, while disrupting business and the affected communities. With livestock losses and impact on cotton cropping expected, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority has announced that disaster funding has been extended to the impacted communities.
Burke Shire and Urandangi in Boulia Shire residents can now apply for Personal Hardship Assistance, which provides $180 for individuals and up to $900 for a family of five to cover the costs of essential items such as food, clothing and medicine.
Loans for primary producers and small businesses in the council areas of Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Doomadgee, Mornington and Mount Isa are available too, with up to $250,000 to repair and replace damaged buildings, plant, equipment or livestock, and up to $100,000 for working capital to continue doing business.
Assistance is also being provided to the councils of Cairns, Central Highlands, Hope Vale, Livingstone, McKinlay, Richmond, Torres Strait and Yarrabah to support their counter disaster operations and repairs to their road network.
This support is provided through the Australian and Queensland Governments’ jointly funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and is much needed by those impacted communities and businesses.
There has been feedback from a number of farmers in relation to the need for a better network of river gauges, in particular on the Flinders, Leichardt, Gregory and Cloncurry Rivers. Currently there are large gaps in the availability of river information in this region which leads to a lack of reliable information for locals on how much water may be heading their way to enable them to plan accordingly. Having a weather station network across the cropping region which can provide real time weather data would also be invaluable in planning for and responding to monsoonal and flooding events like this one.
An urgent review of river gauges, weather station networks and other technologies is needed and subsequently an implementation plan that is adequately resourced by the state and federal government is needed to help build the flood monitoring and early warning capability for regions in Queensland.
If you are in these areas and have been impacted and need more information, call the Queensland Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349, and primary producers/small businesses can contact QRIDA via 1800 623 946.