DROUGHT PROOF: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud inspect a rural property ravaged by drought. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen (POOL)
DROUGHT PROOF: Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud inspect a rural property ravaged by drought. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen (POOL)

‘Bandaid on an amputated leg’: Industry responds to funding

THE region's producers and agriculture heavyweights have welcomed a milestone in federal drought funding but warn it may be a case of too little too late.

Federal Agriculture and Drought Minister David Littleproud today announced the Future Drought Fund committee, headed by local Brent Finlay, had started allocation for the first round of its $5 billion package.

While $20 million would go towards helping farmers create detailed business plans, $10 million would go toward climate data research.

For Granite Belt winemaker Mike Hayes, who had just recently welcomed Wine Australia's Climate Atlas, the funding was disheartening.

"I don't think it's enough towards climate research. It's a bandaid on an amputated leg," he said.

"The fragility of the climate at present, not only in South East Queensland but the world, is a delicate line. The next 25 years have the power to make or break the farming community."

While he agreed it was a beginning, Mr Hayes urged the government to bring in even more experts to help guide future decision making.

"I don't believe they are educated in the land and its activities," he said.

"We all need to unite and become new smart farmers, embracing technology, drones, satellite and data research.

"The fact is it's a matter of diversify or die."

Minister for Drought David Littleproud and Brent Finlay, chair of the Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee.
Minister for Drought David Littleproud and Brent Finlay, chair of the Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee.


Thanes Creek farmer Andrew Costello agreed, and said climate research was something our region should learn to embrace.

"Certainly the climate is going to change and people need to adapt with it," he said.

"A lot of people say climate change is a load of rubbish, but the more we know about future climate the better it is to help us.

"It will be even tougher in the future, that's something my kids are going to have to handle."

Mr Costello also welcome the move towards financial help, in the hopes farming families could move away from tradition towards more viable options.

"A lot of us go along doing same thing our farmers have doing for a while and it doesn't hurt to look into it a bit more," he said.

Looking toward the second round of funding, Mr Costello said he would like to see more money put toward water security, as Mr Littleproud said the funding was up for community feedback.

"This is the first suite of programs to be delivered under this initiative initially for one year. "We will continue to monitor and adapt programs to make sure they are building resilience and delivering for farmers and the community," the Member for Maranoa said.