Water price relief granted for southwest farmers
THOUSANDS of Queensland farmers will have some relief to their running costs over the next 12 months, with the price of their water now frozen.
The Queensland Government today announced it would place a temporary price freeze on all of the state’s 35 irrigation schemes, including those at St George, Chinchilla, and Cunnamulla.
Intended to assist farmers who continue to deal with the fallout from drought and now the global coronavirus pandemic, natural resources minister Dr Anthony Lynham said over $14 million will be put in to the scheme.
“Our farmers are doing it tough as they deal with the fallout of long-running drought, bushfires, severe weather events, volatile markets and now, the impacts of COVID-19,” Dr Lynham said.
“We need to keep our farmers in business for our food and fibre and to create jobs, just like other Queensland employers.
“The Government will invest $14.7 million – about $2300 per farmer – in 2020-21 to keep prices low for irrigators.
“In effect, the government’s decision means that irrigators will, on average, be roughly $400 a year better off in 2020-21 than this year.”
While the scheme is supposed to be just a temporary freeze on prices, there is every possibility that it could be expanded to include subsidies and price cuts for irrigation farmers.
Dr Lynham said the scheme could even be extended for a second year, should conditions demand it.
“The freeze is a temporary relief measure, just as other Queensland businesses are receiving because of COVID-19,” he said.
“The government will monitor conditions over the next 12 months before it reassesses and decides on prices to apply from 2021-22.”
From July 1, 2020 the Queensland Government has confirmed it will:
- Absorb price increases in 2020-21 recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority.
- Pass on any price decreases recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority
- Subsidise $42 million worth of dam safety upgrades across the state over the next for years rather than ask irrigators to contribute towards them.