The Local Government Association of Queensland has welcomed Federal Government moves to provide drought funding for non-farm businesses and extra funding for councils in affected regions.
More than 66 percent of the land area of Queensland is drought declared, directly or indirectly affecting more than one million people.
LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam said while it was farm businesses that felt the immediate impact of drought, entire communities suffered the flow-on effects of a downturn in the agribusiness sector.
“The LGAQ has been at the forefront of arguing that, in severe drought, assistance needs to be extended to all businesses affected by drought – and the Government has listened,” Mr Hallam said.
“The decision to extend support to non-farm businesses is a critical change in mindset in how we, as a nation, support our communities when severe drought strikes.”
The new package will provide more than $330 million to councils across Australia.
Mr Hallam said the $138.9 million supplement in Roads to Recovery funding and the quarantining of the next $200 million round of the Building Better Regions Fund to councils in drought-affected areas would be important in helping communities manage and recover from the current drought.
“The value to communities of the extra drought funding to be provided to councils cannot be underestimated,” he said.
“Councils are often the major employer in regional and rural towns and witness first-hand the impact of drought on their communities.
“This is why the LGAQ has prepared an eight-point Local Government Drought Action Plan that would empower councils, communities and businesses to better prepare for and respond to drought.”