The Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Linda Reynolds has visited primary producers in the Fassifern Valley who were affected by severe weather and hail in October that caused damage to farming infrastructure and crop losses.
Assistant Minister Reynolds, who has responsibility for Commonwealth disaster assistance, commended the resilience displayed by all primary producers living and working in the affected areas, including those in the Wide Bay-Burnett region who have been impacted by a similar event.
"I acknowledge that these events have had significant impacts for some local primary producers, particularly those who were close to harvesting their crops," Assistant Minister Reynolds said.
Concerns have been raised about the provision of Category C grants under the jointly funded Australian Government-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
"The NDRRA is a safety-net funding programme for the states," Assistant Minister Reynolds said.
"The arrangements should not dictate the availability of assistance to disaster affected communities as this is a state responsibility and they are best placed to determine whether assistance is needed."
"Category C assistance is intended to support a holistic approach to the recovery of regions, communities and sectors that have been severely affected by a disaster."
Assistant Minister Reynolds said that Queensland is not restricted in any way from providing grants to primary producers and can provide the assistance the state deems appropriate without Commonwealth approval.
"Over the last decade the Australian Government has provided more than $9.3 billion to the Queensland Government under the NDRRA to support disaster affected communities."
There are other avenues of support for affected primary producers.
Concessional loans and freight subsidies are available through Queensland's Individual Disaster Stricken Property declarations or the NDRRA.
"I also encourage affected primary producers to contact the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources who have specialised programmes to help," Assistant Minister Reynolds said.
"I have written to the Queensland Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, the Hon. Craig Crawford MP committing to work with him to ensure primary producers impacted by these disasters receive adequate support.
"The Australian Government stands ready to respond to any request for NDRRA assistance from the Queensland Government."