Drought hits North West Queensland hard

The drought conditions across North West Queensland are worsening as the hot weather starts to set in. Many properties will be running out of water within a month and are desperately working to drill for new stock water bores to see the cattle out until the next rains.

Northern based Senator Ian Macdonald said he felt for the people of the North West and the hardships they were experiencing.

It is heartbreaking for the landholders, especially as many of the new bores are drilling dry and many people would be wondering whether all of the effort they put into their properties is worth it.I encourage landowners to carry on. Their efforts are respected, and the new Federal Government will be working hard to help out where possible Senator Macdonald said.

The State Government has been working hard to unwind the perverse policies put in place by the previous Labor government and, to date, they are doing a good job for rural Queensland. If the changes being made by Minister Cripps and Minister McVeigh had been enforced five years ago, the consequences of this drought would not be as severe as they are now.

Clearing and water infrastructure restrictions brought in by the Queensland Labor government did not allow properties to drought proof or, indeed, make use of other practical and technological improvements that would have increased industry resilience.

The live export ban has also contributed to the current dilemma because stock that would have normally been soldto Indonesia have had to be kept on properties, pushing grazing pressure beyond normal levels.

Senator Macdonald pointed out that stock prepared for the live export market were a different type and weight than those prepared for the boxed meat market and could not be instantly interchanged.

People who voted for the live export ban had no idea about the drastic consequences, both human and animal, of that decision nor did they take the time to inform themselves of the risks, Senator Macdonald said.

The people of North West Queensland whose base economy is driven by the grazing industry are now suffering because of that poor decision making and I for one understand this and will be working hard to reinstate the relationships with Indonesia and other new market opportunities to undo the damage caused by the Gillard-Rudd Government.

Trade will be on the agenda with the Abbot- led delegation to Indonesia today, and beef will be a large part of this.

Queensland Minister John McVeigh has been extremely active in trade negotiations, having stimulated trade for Ramadan with Indonesia earlier this year, and returning only a couple of days ago from a Trade Mission to China.

Mr McVeigh has headed straight from Hong Kong out to Georgetown in North West Queensland today to negotiate common sense assistance for landholders in drought.

I applaud his commitment and his pro-active stance.

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