The Southern Downs and Lockyer Valley finally fully drought declared.

After months of speculation and hardship for many Queensland farmers, the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner has taken on board the local drought committee recommendations and included the Southern Downs and Lockyer Valley in the most recent review of Queensland’s drought conditions.

Mr Furner acknowledged that “the last twelve months has also been very dry for the Southern Downs and Lockyer Regional Council areas.

“There are significant concerns about stock, irrigation and rural domestic water supplies, and I have therefore accepted the local drought committee’s recommendations to drought declare these council areas.”

This latest drought review sees a reduced number of areas drought declared considering good summer rain at the beginning of the year but sees the inclusion of these two regions.

Mr Furner said, “During the last 12 months much of southern, central and western Queensland continued to receive below to well-below average rainfall.

A lack of useful spring and summer rainfall over the last four to five years, combined with above average temperatures, continues to have a major impact in most of pastoral Queensland.”

This comes as no surprise to the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation who have been receiving numerous calls for assistance from members in areas that had not been declared in the last two reviews.

“As an industry organisation, it has been frustrating for us not to be able to provide any real level of assistance to members in these two key dairy farming regions” said QDO Executive Officer Eric Danzi. “We will be on the phone to our members in the newly declared areas to let them know the news and how to access funding. I’m know it will come as a welcome relief to those who have been doing it tough.”

While members across Queensland outside of drought declared regions could access funding by applying for an Individual Droughted Property (IDP), it is acknowledged that this is by far a more arduous process with significantly more paperwork for submissions.