Australia’s Noosa Shire Council is among 14 new areas to be drought declared, while The Sunshine Coast and Gympie council areas have also been added to the growing drought zone.
Noosa Deputy Mayor Bob Abbot says places like Tewantin have experienced their lowest February rainfall ever and he says the pockets of agriculture within the council area are feeling the pinch.
“We’re coming into a winter season now and we’re starting in autumn and we’re coming into a winter season basically with probably one 10th of the feed you’d have on your property as what you would have had last year,” he said.
Councillor Abbot says council has not yet considered whether rate discounts could be introduced for drought affected properties.
Gympie’s Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett says he hopes the drought declaration assistance will bring much needed relief to farmers.
“It’s just been progressively getting worse in this region,” he said.
“We were hopeful that we would have received some summer rain but obviously that hasn’t eventuated.
“We’re now in a situation where we’re coming into the autumn when we see our rainfall drop off … our pastures are almost depleted, it’s quite critical.
“It’s just not looking good coming into this cooler time of the year.”
He says it is unusual for coastal areas of the south-east Queensland region to be so dry at this time of year.
“We do get dry periods from time to time and we generally manage our way through those but those areas closer to the coast they’re generally in a very high rainfall belt and a lot of those properties are suffering seriously at the moment,” he said.
“It’s difficult for them – dairy farmers, be it ginger growers – when you’re used to having that high rainfall and those lush pastures it becomes very, very costly to manage your way through it.”