Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry John McVeigh is
travelling the Wide Bay Burnett this week visiting flood-affected
producers and monitoring their recovery.
Speaking in Bundaberg, Mr McVeigh said he knew from previous visits immediately after the flood just how hard the area was hit.
“Horticulture in the area took a real knock, and it is a very important sector not just to the local economy but to Queensland’s overall agricultural effort,” Mr McVeigh said.
“I met with a number of growers earlier this month and saw first-hand the impact and mess left in the wake of the floods.
“This week I am catching up with local producers and industry groups including canegrowers, fruit and vegetable growers and sawmillers.
“I am keen to see how people are coping one month on from the event and to seek feedback on the support the government has been able to provide so far.
“One of the areas of concern is the citrus industry in North Burnett and I will look closely at that this week.
“Getting this entire area back on its feet as quickly as possible is critical to the state’s overall recovery, and also to our commitment to reach the state's 2040 target of doubling agriculture productivity.
“Our farmers are resilient and I am confident we will bounce back from this.”
Mr McVeigh will also meet Andy Mead, the recently-appointed Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) extension officer.
Mr Mead’s appointment is part of the Government’s drive to recruit 15 new frontline officers to work in regional parts of the state.
“I came to Bundaberg in November to work closely with industry to help drive productivity and profitability in the horticultural industries of the region,” Mr Mead said.
“The tree and vegetable cropping industries are central to the regional economy and adverse weather events have had a serious effect on enterprise profitability and viability.
“My main focus has been vegetable crops including tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cucurbits and capsicums, plus tree crops including macadamias, citrus, avocados and strawberries.
“I’ve recently taken on the local flood recovery liaison officer role and have focused on assessing the impact of the flooding and wind damage on communities, enterprises and infrastructure throughout the Wide Bay Region.
“A key part of this role has been collecting data to support government assistance applications and refocus activities and resources to ensure a rapid response to this disaster.
“Government at all levels, industry and the wider community have been very helpful and it’s great to see their continued support in these difficult times.
“The region is now entering the recovery phase and I am working with the industry in planning how to best support recovery programs.”
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
The Honourable John McVeigh
26 February 2013