Queensland government welcomes federal drought aid

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton to announce the drought-relief drought support. Photo: AMY MCINTYRE
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton to announce the drought-relief drought support. Photo: AMY MCINTYRE

They say it took a while to happen but the Queensland government has welcomed a federal drought assistance package for farmers.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the $190 million relief package to help farmers and their communities fight one of the worst droughts of the past century.

Farmers will be able to access up to $12,000 in cash payments under the package which also includes a boost for mental health services.

The government is also changing the assets test to allow an estimated 8000 more farmers to access support.

Latest Queensland government figures show 57.4 per cent of the state's land area is drought-declared.

That figure represents almost the entire of the state's southwest as well as several parts of the state's central regions.

The Lockyer Valley, Southern Downs and Toowoomba regions are also fully drought-declared.

Queensland cabinet minister Kate Jones said Mr Turnbull's announcement was a crucial one for those affected communities.

"I'm sure that these payments announced today will be welcomed by families," Ms Jones told reporters.

"This is an example of the Malcolm Turnbull government finally listening to the needs of Australia."

A Palaszczuk government spokesperson told AAP over $670 million had been invested through grants, loans, infrastructure projects and drought climate adaptation programs to assist farmers now and in the future.

Farmers who are experiencing drought conditions but find themselves in an area that is not drought-declared are urged to contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to apply for an Individual Droughted Property declaration, the spokesperson said.

Rural advocacy group AgForce Queensland said the prolonged nature of the drought was placing a huge burden on many regional communities.

"AgForce has been advocating for many years for the asset threshold to be lifted so this announcement today will make a big difference to many drought-affected farming families," AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said in a statement.

"The extra funding for the Rural Financial Counselling Service is also very welcome, and we urge farmers to use this service and seek advice on how to apply for the Farm Household Allowance."

Australian Associated Press