It’s all hands on deck as northern Queenslanders prepare for the impact of Tropical Cyclone Ita, with farmers working fast to harvest their crops as quickly as possible before the storm hits. Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said his thoughts and best wishes go out to those working to protect their properties as winds from the category 5 cyclone continue to intensify, with landfall expected late on Friday.
“Of course, the safety of those in the firing line is paramount. But nobody wishes the kind of devastation on anyone that families and farms experienced in the wake of cyclone Yasi in 2011,” Minister Joyce said.
“It’s an important reminder of the role our farmers play. The last time an event of this magnitude occurred in this area, the after-effects saw banana prices go through the roof around the country. No Australians should take our safe and secure food supply for granted.
Agricultural production in north Queensland is a very important contributor to Australia’s economy. In 2010–11 the total gross value of agricultural production in Queensland was $9.5 billion.
“Broadacre crops such as bananas and sugar cane are key industries in many rural and regional areas of Queensland. They are also prone to wind damage and production losses can be severe.
“The Department of Agriculture has a range of assistance measures in place for farmers facing hardship and in need of additional support.”
Farm families, farm businesses and those in rural communities experiencing hardship should contact the relevant organisation for advice.
- The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) provides free financial counselling to primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses, who are suffering financial hardship and have no alternative sources of impartial support. Visit the Rural Financial Counselling Service website or call 1800 686 175.
- Income support is available now for farmers and their partners via the Interim Farm Household Allowance. To find out more contact the Department of Human Services on 132 316.
For information on Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) see disasterassist.gov.au Ω
Posted 11 April 2014