Minister urges Producers to ‘Get Ready’

Producers need to get ready now for nature’s worst.

With the potential for extreme weather in the coming months, Queensland’s producers, and livestock and pet owners are being urged to be prepared.

Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said experiencing the full force of Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia in 2015 had driven home how devastating the Queensland summer storm season could be.

“Being prepared for natural disasters is crucial as we enter summer,” the Minister said.

“We’re coming out of last summer’s El Nino pattern and the latest Bureau of Meteorology forecasts are indicating average to below average rainfall for the next three months with an average chance of cyclones for Queensland, after a very quiet cyclone season last year.

“Natural disasters can have a devastating impact on producers as we saw during Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia in February 2015.

“By preparing now you can reduce the risk of disaster damage and financial loss, and potentially save lives.

“That’s why I’m strongly encouraging all producers to use the Queensland Government’s specially-tailored natural disaster guides to help protect their property, business, livestock and crops.

To view these guides go to www.business.qld.gov.au and search for ‘natural disasters’ and ‘preparing your animals for natural disasters’.

Some of the tips in the guides include:

  • photographing assets in their pre-disaster condition
  • ensuring records and deeds are stored in a secure place
  • developing an emergency plan for your business
  • organising evacuation procedures.

For livestock, tips include:

  • ensuring animals are identified with NLIS devices or brands
  • make sure stock registers are up-to-date
  • designate safe paddocks on higher ground where you can move stock to easily
  • have emergency fodder supplies on hand
  • mark gates and water locations on property maps in case someone has to move your stock.

Don’t forget to ensure your pets are properly identified and keep emergency phone numbers handy for your vet, local animal welfare agency and pet information and advisory services.

Minister Byrne said the Queensland Government worked closely with producers to help them to recover quickly from natural disaster.

“If a disaster hits, we have a range of financial assistance available to help producers to recover quickly,” the Minister said.

“This is vital as agriculture plays a significant role in Queensland’s economy.

“For example we produce 50% of Australia’s beef, worth $3.2 billion; we’re Australia’s largest producer of vegetables worth $1.2 billion and the second largest fruit producer worth $1.5 billion. We also produce 94% of the nation’s sugar.

“We are also working with industry to build resilience. Our partnership with the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation will help North Queensland crop producers to cyclone-proof their crops.

“We’ve been looking at suitable trees for windbreaks, removing leaves from fruit trees when a cyclone is imminent, new growing methods such as trellising, and producing plants with stronger root systems through new pot designs.

“We’re helping producers prepare for, and to recover from, a potential natural disaster and we can’t stress enough to producers that the key is to act early and assess the potential risks to your property and business now.

“By getting ready now, you can save yourself a lot of heartache after a disaster event and recover more quickly.”

For more information on preparing for a natural disaster contact DAF on 13 25 23 visit www.business.qld.gov.au or www.getready.qld.gov.au

For further information on cyclone preparations in your local area, such as evacuation routes and public shelter arrangements, phone your Council (07) 4189 9100.

Media Release from the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Economic Development The Honourable Bill Byrne

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