Natural Disaster Recovery Grants - Category C Assistance

Category C assistance now available.

Primary producers that suffered direct damage from Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie and associated rainfall and flooding can access grants from QRAA.

What assistance is available?
An Exceptional Circumstances Grant up to a maximum of $25,000 is available to assist eligible primary producers as follows:

  • Initial grant amounts to assist you with cleaning and reinstatement costs – up to a total of $5,000; and
  • Subsequent grant amounts to assist you with additional cleaning and reinstatement costs – up to a total of $20,000

How can the assistance help you?

The assistance enables you to pay for costs associated with cleaning and reinstatement activities.Examples of eligible activities:

  • purchasing, hiring or leasing equipment or materials to; clean premises, property or equipment or to immediately resume farming activities
  • removing and disposing of debris, damaged goods, materials including injured or dead livestock
  • repairing or replacing fencing on the property
  • purchasing fodder or salvaging crops or feed for stock
  • repairing or reconditioning essential plant or equipment
  • maintaining the health of livestock or poultry
  • paying additional wages to an employee to assist with clean-up work

Grant application – HERE

Eligible Local Government Areas:

The areas activated for Category C are:

  • Whitsunday Regional Council
  • Mackay Regional Council
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council
  • Logan City Council
  • Part of Isaac Regional Council
    Activation is limited to the portion of Isaac Regional Council that is: east of the Fitzroy Development Road to the Peak Downs Highway, and north and east of a boundary consisting of the Peak Downs Highway, the Suttor Development Road; and the Collinsville Elphinstone Road
  • Part of Livingstone Regional Council
    Activation is limited to the portion of Livingstone Shire Council that is: north and west of the Apis Creek Road, the Marlborough Road, Glenprairie Road and west of the North Coast Rail Line
  • Part of Central Highlands Regional Council
    Activation is limited to the portion that is east of the Fitzroy Developmental Road and north of the Capricorn Highway
  • Part of Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council 
    Activation is limited to the portion of Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council that is: north of the Capricorn Highway
  • Part Lockyer Valley Regional Council
    Activation is limited to the southern section linking to Scenic Rim Regional Council, this incorporates areas south of the Gatton – Clifton road, the Gatton – Helidon road, the Gatton – Laidley road, and the Rosewood – Laidley road (buffer zone)
  • Part of Gold Coast City Council
    Activation is limited to the portion of Gold Coast City Council that is: within or adjacent to the Albert River Catchment These are analogous to the SA2 ABS regions of Jacobs Well – Alberton, Ormeau – Yatala, Kingsholme – Upper Coomera, Pimpama – Coomera, Pimpama – Coomera, Oxenford – Maudsland, and Nerang and that parts of Guanaba – Springbrook north from the shire boundary along the SA1 boundary and then east, bordering along the Lower Beechmont Conservation Area.

For further information contact QRAA on 1800 623 946 or use the postcode search on the home page to connect with your local QRAA manager.

If you need anything or have been affected by natural disaster but you do not reside in declared areas please contact QDO on 3236 2955.


Cyclone Debbie's $6 million impact on dairy

In late March 2017, Ex Tropical Cyclone Debbie brought major and record breaking flooding across two parts of South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales.

The worst affected areas for the dairy industry have been Scenic Rim Regional Council and Logan City Council. In some cases, dairy farms were totally inundated with flood water causing major impacts including animal loss, herd health issues, decrease in milk production and damage to farm infrastructure. A number of farmers were isolated by flood water and debris and are still without access to a main-power supply.

As a comparison to recent flooding events in 2011 and 2013, it is anticipated that the cost to the farming industry in South East Queensland will be in excess of $6 million. The full extent of impacts on individual farms will take some weeks to accurately assess, particularly given the time required to review what can be salvaged.

According to initial assessments by QDO, more than 50 farms in the Scenic Rim have been adversely affected, 16 of which have suffered major to severe impacts. Additionally, five farms in Logan City and two farms on the Gold Coast have been affected by the disaster. There are a number of farms along the Condamine and Mulgowie region that have also been affected.

These figures have been extrapolated from impact survey results as recent as Monday 10 April and account for 60% of dairy farms in flood affected regions.

So far major damages assessed have included: more than $300,000 in losses to equipment including pumps, tractors, irrigation equipment; more than 200 hectares and 400 hectares of pasture lost; 121 km of fencing destroyed; more than 10 km of internal laneways damaged; more than 400 round bales hay lost; and the loss of 11 animals.

QDO will continue to touch base with farmers in Central Queensland that were impacted to assess the damage and advocate for any additional support as determined following assessment.

Mixed Fortunes from Debbie

By Ross McInnes, QDO Vice-President

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When Tropical Cyclone Debbie crossed the North Queensland coast two weeks ago, it looked almost as through the major dairy regions had dodged a bullet. However, as the system moved inland the true impact of Cyclone Debbie, both positive and negative, become apparent. Many dairy farmers on the Darling Downs welcomed much needed rain while others in the South East corner were inundated by localised flooding events that resulted from the record rainfall.

Major flooding occurred in many catchments in SEQ and Northern New South Wales with the Logan, Tweed and Richmond river systems measuring record flood heights. This resulted in utter devastation for many of our members. Over 30 farms were severely impacted in Scenic Rim and Logan City with most of the damage to crops and fencing.

One of the things that Dairy does very well is pull together in traumatic times. A team effort across the industry organisations of Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation, Subtropical Dairy, milk processing companies, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Dairy Australia helps to ensure the immediate welfare of all farmers is addressed and crucial information regarding damage and impact is assessed. This information is extremely important to build a case for disaster relief that agriculture can apply for.

Queensland farms impacted by Tropical Cyclone Debbie represent some $45 million in GVP. QDO welcomes the announcement by the government to initially activating Category B assistance.  The industry will continue to assess the impact of recent events in order to activate Category C assistance.

The immediate damage bill looks to be in excess of $4 million on the dairy industry. It will be a tough road ahead with many lingering production impacts and feed gaps resulting from the floods.

QDO is working closely with the Scenic Rim Regional Council and local State member for Beaudesert Jon Krause to get assistance through organisations such as BlazeAid to help with the restoration and recovery works across farms.

You are not going through this alone, QDO is here and available to help Queensland dairy farmers, just like it has in the past.

Canberra Wash Up

By Brian Tessmann, QDO President

Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation’s (QDO) visit to Canberra last week not only provided our national representatives with a better understanding of the issues affecting our domestic dairy industry, it also gave QDO some fresh insights into the rationale behind current policy positions.

Some positive news from our visit was that the ‘effects test’ Bill passed the House of Representatives. The challenge now is getting the laws through the Senate.

During our visit to Parliament House a number of members or advisors challenged us on our views on how to fix the domestic dairy industry. The one thing however that everyone agreed upon was there was something fundamentally wrong with the domestic dairy market and it is wasn’t the dairy farmers.

Labor appears to have locked itself into opposing the ‘effects test’, however most others across the political spectrum support the much needed change. What we were told by Labor and many others was that the ‘effects test’ was no silver bullet and that more needs to be done. QDO agreed in principle, but remains resolute in getting the ‘effects test’ passed as an important piece of an industry remedy.

Many politicians were keen to zero in on the relationship between farmers and processors and I believe this is key to the current ACCC inquiry into the industry. It was also interesting that one Coalition member said, while the ‘I buy branded milk’ campaign was good, they felt we should have a brand or logo on bottles to indicate that buying this bottle was positive for farmers. I informed them that is was exactly part of what the proposed Fair Milk Logo here in Queensland was designed to do.

While there was considerable debate in our discussions I would like thank those members who have long supported both the ‘effects test’ and other measures to repair the domestic dairy industry. QDO will continue to advocate for a fairer system on behalf of our dairy farmer members at both a state and federal level.

QDO off to Canberra & QDO Council Report

Eric Danzi, QDO Executive Officer

Eric Danzi, QDO Executive Officer

This QDO council met a few weeks ago to discuss and progress a number of important issues for Queensland dairy farmers. This meeting was used to frame QDO’s position as it heads to Canberra next week to lobby parliamentarians on key issues affecting the Queensland dairy industry. Issues discussed included the federal senate inquiry, the ‘Effects Test’ and the ACCC investigation. Other issues discussed at council included the Fair Milk Logo Bill, the QDO government relations plan,  ticks and membership of Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF).

The national senate inquiry, ACCC review and ‘Effects Test’ were discussed at length by the QDO council. It was noted that the effects test had been recommended by the senate committee and could go into the house at any time during sitting weeks over the coming months. The ACCC is still holding regional meetings across Australia after the first meeting was held in Toowoomba with over 100 Queensland farmers in attendance.

Mike Smith and Stephen Robertson from Ethical Consulting, a specialist government relations company, have prepared a detailed government relations plan for QDO. The plan is very comprehensive and professional, targets both state and federal members and focuses on the key issues facing QDO including the Fair Milk Logo Bill and three federal inquiries/bills already mentioned. The key issues facing QDO will be comprehensively lobbied to key government stakeholders under the plan. Implementing this plan will start in earnest next week when the QDO President, QDO Executive Officer and Stephen Robertson travel to Canberra to meet with over 10 key people from all sides of politics.

As QDO is a member of ADF, Terry Richardson, acting ADF president, attended council to discuss where the organisation was heading under his leadership. Terry spoke of his plan to move ADF forward by working closer with QDO in the future. The QDO council members appreciated Terry attending the meeting and giving councilors an insight the future of ADF and the industry at a national level. It was clear to all QDO councillors that there is great value for QDO working closely with ADF and Terry.

QDO councillor from North Queensland James Geraghty has nominated for the vacancy on the ADF board. All QDO councillors support James and it would be of great value to all dairy farmers in Queensland if James was successful in his quest to be on the ADF board.

QDO President Brian Tessmann briefed the council on recent activities relating to the Fair Milk Logo Bill including the meeting of the agriculture parliamentary committee in February. The bill is likely to be debated in Parliament in the coming months. QDO has been very active in supporting the Fair Milk Logo Bill and expect that all sides of politics will support Queensland dairy farmers by passing this bill.

Malcolm Macleod attended the council meeting and gave a very comprehensive briefing on issues related to the new tick line and management for ticks. It was clear that a lot had changed with regards to tick management and that QDO members would benefit from an update re ticks from QDAF. QDO has obtained a list of accredited certifiers for ticks in Queensland which is available HERE. We have also developed an information paper on the issue of ticks. This will be sent around in next edition of the Weekly Update.

QDO will be inviting QDAF staff with expertise in tick management to attend future QDO member meetings to discuss with members the latest in tick management.

Dairy farmers and processors need to work with not against each other

By Brian Tessmann, QDO President

The Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO), alongside the entire dairy industry, were surprised and disappointed with Parmalat Australia’s unprecedented attack on Queensland’s dairy farmers by labelling the farm sector “unwilling to make itself competitive”.

Unfortunately, the cost of milk production rises the closer you are to the equator. The warmer climate, lower quality tropical pastures and fodder all contribute to an overall higher cost of milk production. In addition, processors in Queensland require constant year round milk production to ensure shelves can be stocked 365 days per year.

The lower production costs in southern Australia stem from the cooler climate and the seasonal spring production system that relies on the availability of temperate pasture. Queensland farmers are currently involved in the same dairying improvement programmes including those made with animal genetics.

Since 2011, times have been tough for both processors and farmers’ alike. Both farmers and processors have shared in the pain caused by the introduction of $1 per litre milk. At that time Parmalat was forcedto implement a 3 cents per litre drop on the price it paid its suppliers.

QDO is committed to seeing all milk sold in Australia sold for a sustainable price that equally benefits both farmers and processors and ensures a fair rate of return for the industry as a whole.

It is indeed strange that the Fair Milk Logo bill would evoke such concern from Parmalat. The logo wouldexist solely as a voluntary consumer information tool, not in any way resembling a compulsory ‘quasi regulatory’ system. The Fair Milk Logo simply empowers consumers to identify and hopefully support local fresh milk products or processors that pay a sustainable price to Queensland dairy farms. QDO continues to work with Parmalat and all processors to improve the sustainability of Queensland milk production to ensure all sectors of the supply chain improve the viability and longevity of the state’s dairy industry. The Fair Milk Logo simply builds upon this this commitment and will in the long term deliver for consumers, retailers, processor and farmers.

Drought relief assistance packages for dairy farmers

Regions of Queensland drought declared

Regions of Queensland drought declared

With over 70% of Qld being drought declared, the Banana, Bundaberg, Cherbourg Aboriginal, Fraser Coast, Gympie, North and South Burnett and Somerset regions have now been drought-declared. This means that dairy farmers can claim a range of benefits from the government which may be included in the drought-relief assistance schemes. (e.g. for electricity charges, water fees, land rent rebates, land rent deferrals, transport-related measures and concessional loans scheme.

Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS)

The DRAS provides assistance to drought-declared properties including:

  • transport of fodder freight subsidy
  • transport of water freight subsidy
  • Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR), which provides a rebate on the purchase and installation of water infrastructure purchased for animal welfare needs.
  • Drought management plan
  • Individually droughted property

As well, properties that have had their drought declaration revoked may be eligible for freight subsidies for transporting livestock returning from assignment or purchased for restocking.

DRAS generally provides a maximum of $20,000 per property per financial year on all freight subsidy and rebate types but this can increase incrementally up to $40,000 as drought continues.

Producers in a drought-declared area or who have an individually drought-affected property (IDP) declaration can apply for DRAS support through DAF. Further information can be found HERE.

Drought relief from electricity charges rebate scheme (DRECS)
The Department of Energy and Water Supply operates the DRECS for customers in Energex areas and non-Ergon Retail customers in regional areas. The scheme provides relief from fixed charges for accounts that use electricity to pump water for farm or irrigation purposes during periods of very low or no water availability. If you are an Ergon Energy customer seeking relief from electricity charges, please call 13 10 46 or email:

Water fee relief
Annual water licence fees from 1 July 2016 until 30 June 2017 will be waived for Queensland producers in drought-declared areas from the date of their drought declaration. Affected landholders will be advised by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines of the waiver by letter.

Drought assistance land rent rebate
Holders of rural leases (Category 11 leases used for grazing and primary production) issued under the Land  Act 1994 are eligible for a rebate of 12% of their annual rent where that annual rent is more than the minimum rent of $235. The rebate is available for leases that are in drought-declared areas and for those that have an IDP. Landholders who are eligible for the rebate will receive information with their annual/quarterly invoices.

Transport-related drought assistance measures
Drought assistance measures provided by the Department of Transport and Main Roads include:

  • permits for increasing the maximum hay loading height
  • concessions on shifting droughted livestock
  • waivers and greater flexibility on certain vehicle registration conditions and fees and charges
  • increased school transport allowances for some families that drive their children to school or connect with a school bus run

Drought Concessional Loans Scheme

  • Drought Concessional Loans to assist farm businesses to manage, recover from and prepare for droughts are available at a variable interest rate of 2.47 from 1 February 2017. It can be used to restructure debt and/or provide new debt for operating expenses, drought preparedness activities or drought recovery activities. Information on the Drought Assistance Concessional Loans is available HERE. If you have any queries regarding drought specific schemes for Queensland please call: 1800 623 946
  • Loan amounts can be up to 50% of a farm business’ final debt position to a maximum of $1 million. Maximum loan terms of up to ten years apply, with interest only repayments initially available for up to five years. The scheme will close to applications on 30 June 2017 or earlier if funds are spent.
  • Detailed eligibility criteria are available in the scheme Guidelines HERE. A Drought Management Plan is available in the scheme's Application Form HERE.
  • You must submit a valid Bureau of Meteorology 'Rainfall Deficiency Report'. This shows whether your farm business is located in an area that has experienced a rainfall deficiency equivalent to, or worse than, a 1 in 20 year rainfall event. A Rainfall Deficiency Report that shows your property is located outside an area that has experienced a rainfall deficiency equivalent to, or worse than, a 1 in 20 year rainfall event does not necessarily mean that you are ineligible for assistance.

A Rainfall Deficiency Report can be obtained using the Bureau of Meteorology's Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser. To generate a report:

  • Locate your farm business by using the (+) or (-) buttons to zoom in or out on the website: Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser.
  • To ensure the necessary accuracy in obtaining a valid Rainfall Deficiency Report, continue using the zoom function until you have positively identified the location of your property. To avoid selecting a neighbouring property in error, make your selection well within your property boundaries. An incorrect report will cause delays in processing your application.
  • Once you have accurately located your farm business, click your mouse and an option to download a Rainfall Deficiency Report becomes available. Click on (download report), and then print the Rainfall Deficiency Report and attach it to your loan application.
  • Alternatively, you may enter the individual latitude and longitude co-ordinates of your farm business location (if known).

Your Rainfall Deficiency Report will be valid for 60 days and forms part of your loan application. If you are unable to lodge your application within 60 days you need to obtain a new report. The Australian Rainfall Deficiency Analyser is updated on the 23rd of each month (or next business day). When assessing applications, QRAA will verify information provided by applicants.

QDO will mail all members in drought declared areas a drought relief assistance pack in the next week.

If you need further assistance please call the QDO office on (07) 3236 2955.

Prices up, wolume down in South

By Brian Tessmann, QDO President

While Queensland dairy farmers continue to worry about price drops in the local milk market, the call for supply to meet demand in southern Australia is very much on the rise.

Although the export focused market is coming off a low base following last year’s price drops with Murray Goulburn, the latest Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) report indicates that milk prices in southern Australia are now rising by about 2% and are forecast to rise by another 7% in 2017/18.

These forecasts suggest that milk prices in the region will be headed back to attractive levels as early as 2020.

Meanwhile, milk production in Victoria has collapsed with a fall of 7.2% in January contributing to a year to date (YTD) drop of 9.5%. The drop was particularly severe in Northern Victoria where there was a drop of 17.2% for January and a YTD drop of 17.5%. By the end of the year, the drop could accumulate to include over 350 million litres.

The production drops did not stop at the Murray River either with southern New South Wales dropping a YTD total of 9.7% and 11.4% in January leading to a collective drop of 8.4% across the state for the month. This is predicated to encompass a total reduction of over 70 million litres.

In the past, most autumn periods in New South Wales and Queensland combined did not produce enough to supply their combined domestic demand. On top of this, southern NSW is committed to extracting a significant volume of milk for manufacturers at that time of year.

The southern shortage came into focus last week with United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) blasted the supermarkets for sourcing cheap international cheese for their stores’ brand after Australian product became no longer available.

Surely then, any northern processor looking to source milk from a weakening southern dairy industry would need the senses of a bloodhound to find any spare milk without a good home. Even them they would need a full wallet to boot.  

‘Effects test’ reviewd & accepted by Sentate Committee

The Competition and Consumer Amendment (Misuse of Market Power) Bill 2016 or better known as the ‘Effects test’ Bill has reviewed and approved by the Senate Economics Legislation Committee. The committee report has been released recommending that the bill be passed by the House of Representatives and Senate.

This is another important step in what has been a long journey to get the ‘effects test’ into law. The next step will be passing the legislation through both parliamentary houses. QDO has been lobbied for an ‘effects test’ to be introduced and will continue to do so during the crucial next few months.

An ‘effects teat’ is a major component of ensuring the dairy industry can operate in a fairer market that ensures there are not abuses of retailer’s power. If passed the new laws will deliver a balanced playing field where the powers of the supermarkets to dictate the price of products like dairy will be reduced.

Milk Mark gets another Tick

By Brian Tessmann, QDO President

It’s time for voters to call on their state MPs to take decisive action on giving dairy consumers clearer and simpler choice on which milk they put they should put in their shopping trolley to support Queensland farmers.

Last Wednesday (1/3/17) I once again represented QDO in presenting our case to the Queensland Parliamentary Agriculture and Environment Committee, this time speaking in favour of the proposed ‘Fair Milk Price Logo’. The committee also heard from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) and local government. 

The bill is based on a voluntary system and designed to give milk consumers reliable information to assist in their milk purchasing decisions. The ‘Fair Milk Price Logo’ can go on bottles as long as the requirements that the milk has been sourced in Queensland at a recognised sustainable price have been satisfied.

Some processors have indicated that they would not participate as they cannot identify milk from outside Queensland in their system. There have however been some recent notable examples of brands playing off the back of Queensland produced milk. 

It was disappointing to see a processors such as Parmalat make a submission opposing the Bill. Its submission describes the ‘Fair Milk Price Logo’ bill as ‘quasi re regulation’ and infers that Queensland dairy farmers have shown ‘no interest in being nationally or internationally competitive’. The submission also questions the future for dairy farming in Queensland by drawing comparisons to its viability as growing bananas in Victoria. I urge all Queensland dairy farmers to read the submissions to the committee to see the regard some processors have for them and our state’s industry.  

Most presenters at the committee gave either cautious or enthusiastic support for the bill. In fact, representatives from the ACCC said while they had not studied the bill they understood it was about giving better consumer information on how the product was sourced, a concept in principle they supported. Put simply, this bill empowers consumers to support local fresh Queensland milk. It gives consumers a clear choice of supporting a local and successful dairy industry that employs and supports Queenslanders.