DISBELIEF: Kupunn farmer Wayne Newton said he was speechless when he heard the Western Downs was no longer drought-declared.
DISBELIEF: Kupunn farmer Wayne Newton said he was speechless when he heard the Western Downs was no longer drought-declared. Michael Doyle

Disbelief as region is not considered to be in drought

ONE farmer said he was left speechless when he heard the news he no longer lived in a drought-declared area.

Kupunn farmer Wayne Newton's disbelief at the announcement comes from the lack of rain he says there has been for the past three years.

The Queensland Government announced the percentage of the state which was drought declared had fallen from 88 down to 57.

Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Minister Mark Furner stated several regional councils, including the Western Downs were no longer drought declared.

But this has stunned Mr Newton, who said he did not believe there had been enough rainfall in the region.

"Basically I am speechless. I am astounded,” Mr Newton said.

"We have just come off a dry set of about three years.

"Some small parts of the Western Downs region have had some rain, but in the largest part of the area there has been very little.”

Mr Newton said it was a hit to the morale of farmers to hear they were no longer drought declared, when the sub-soil moisture for the upcoming winter season was low.

He said many farmers in the region were expecting a tough winter season.

"Some farmers I have spoken to say they have missed out on a year's worth of rain over the last three years,” Mr Newton said.”

Mr Furner said farmers would not be left without assistance if they were still experiencing hard times on their properties.

"I want to stress that any producer who is experiencing difficult conditions in the revoked areas, or in any council area that is not drought declared, can apply for an Individually Droughted Property declaration,” Mr Furner said.

"This gives them the same access to our drought assistance as an area declaration and we will review the 80 IDPs in 10 other council areas that we have in the coming weeks.”


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