Government hosts hub of knowledge for drought affe...
Boulia Shire Council 25 Sep 2019

LOCAL drought affected farmers and businesses turned out to attend the Drought Community Outreach program on Tuesday.

Held at the Kingaroy Town Hall, they had the opportunity to meet with government agencies face-to-face to speak about how they can obtain business, financial and community assistance .

One of the vendors set up in the hall was no stranger to disastrous situations.

Rural Financial Counselling Service farm liaison officer Tahna Jackson said as someone who had experienced the effects of drought, she could personally emphasise with the struggles people were facing in the area.

"I lived and breathed drought in places like Boulia and Longreach,” Mrs Jackson said.

"I've got skin in the game so I understand where they are coming from.

Government agencies set up in the Kingaroy Town Hall as part of the Drought Community Outreach event. Laura Blackmore

"For example in the South Burnett there is a lot of surface water, which here I've seen on the farms in the last couple of days.

"They are using spring water or surface water from dams and catchments that have water but don't necessarily have a bore or troughs set up,” she said.

"So they might be eligible for the emergency water infrastructure.

"Some people are also looking at offloading cattle or their livestock because there is no feed available.”

Mrs Jackson said she emphasised that every business was different and would need to navigate through their own challenges as they arose.

"It always depends on the situation but it's always good to come and see a financial counsellor.

"After being in similar roles for the past few years I find that if you can help the financial side of things, it will also help other underlying issues like lack of sleep or family stress,” she said.

Southern Queensland manager Damon Cavalchini in between Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development representatives Joseph Clifford and April Bugeja. Laura Blackmore

Hosted by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, department representative Hannal Wandel said the information session was brought to regional areas to assist people in need.

"The idea behind these sit down events is to bring clear, up to date information about the assistance measures available from all levels of government,” Ms Wandel said.

"We also need to make sure people know what is available and have the most current information.

"They can also directly connect with government agencies who can take them through all the forms and eligibility criteria,” she said.

South Burnett locals attended the government run event to find out more information about the services they can access during the drought. Laura Blackmore

For the past five weeks the government lead program has been making its way across Queensland and Ms Wandel said they have received some positive feedback.

"People have been experiencing the effects of drought for multiple years,” Ms Wandel said.

"By providing this type of event, it is a good opportunity for people to speak about their story and leave with more knowledge than they originally came in with.