The North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency (the Agency) Advisory Board held its second meeting in the affected area on 10 April 2019 in Winton, Queensland.
The Board discussed current and planned government assistance for those affected by the North and Far North Queensland Monsoon Trough (25 January – 14 February 2019). The Board was briefed on the positive partnership between the Commonwealth and Queensland Government in the delivery of several of these measures.
The Board advised that in settling the delivery arrangements for the restocking, replanting and on-farm infrastructure grants that priority should be given to ensuring a streamlined application and assessment process to facilitate timely outcomes, consistent with the approach taken for the $75,000 primary producer grants. The Board noted that in relation to these grants the Commonwealth and Queensland governments agreed a National Partnership on Grants Assistance to Primary Producers Impacted by the North Queensland Floods on 4 April 2019 and that the remaining steps before this scheme can be opened were the settling of the Grant Guidelines and passage of associated Regulations by the Queensland Government. The Board provided advice to inform the timely finalisation of the associated Grant Guidelines and ensure fair and equitable access to grant funding.
The Board reflected on community feedback on current and planned assistance following member and Agency visits to Ayr, Charters Towers, Richmond, Hughenden, Julia Creek, Cloncurry, Townsville and Winton. The Board agreed the importance of consistent and timely advice to members of the community and the need to ensure that third parties, such as AgForce and the Rural Financial Counselling Service, were well briefed on the assistance available.
The Board considered its strategic forward work plan and potential discussion topics for future meetings, with initial priorities including the role of the banking sector, support for small business including those indirectly impacted, education and schooling support and monitoring the effectiveness of government assistance in this area. The Board noted that items in the forward work plan would be used to inform the development of a long term recovery and reconstruction strategy.
Whilst in Winton, the Board members met with local pastoralists on their properties, the Mayor of Winton Shire and participated in a community forum hosted by the Shire Council. The Board noted the severity of local impacts and provided information to community members about current and planned government assistance in response to the monsoonal event.
The Advisory Board supports the Head of the Agency, the Hon Shane Stone AC QC, and comprises members with on-the-ground livestock industry experience, stakeholder groups, and representatives of federal and local governments. The role of the Board is to provide advice to Government about whether its policy intent is being realised on-the-ground and, if not, what changes to the policy are needed.
Members of the Advisory Board are:
- The Hon Shane Stone AC QC (Chair) - CEO North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency.
- Tracey Hayes – former CEO of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association and board member of the CRC for Developing Northern Australia.
- Don Heatley OAM – pastoralist and former Chair of Meat and Livestock Australia.
- Greg Campbell – pastoralist and Mayor of Cloncurry Shire Council.
- David Galvin - former Chair of LiveCorp.
- Daryl Quinlivan - Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.
The Board will continue to meet monthly, and will meet at other times as required.