IN a move long awaited by local farmers, the Scenic Rim was yesterday fully drought declared.
This came after local drought committees from the central, southern and south east Queensland regions met and assessed seasonal conditions from April 2018 to March 2019.
The latest declarations, announced by Agriculture Minister Mark Furner on May 1, bring the total area of Queensland that is drought declared to 65.2 per cent.
Veresdale Scrub dairy farmer Rodney Teese who was forced to sell off half his herd in summer and made a heartfelt video about farmers' plight from the Beaudesert Times website, said it was good news.
"It will help some people out but it's a shame it wasn't done six or 12 months ago," he said.
"We applied for Individual Droughted Property status but were knocked back last spring.
'It's good the Scenic Rim has finally been drought declared but this is something that really should have happened last winter."
Read more: Almost two thirds of Queensland in drought
Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said he wrote to the minister on behalf of primary producers urgently advocating for declaration.
"I applaud the minister for accepting the recommendations of the local drought committee and for recognising the serious concerns around pasture growth and water supplies in our region," he said.
"All sectors of our primary production capability reliant on growing or grazing in the Scenic Rim are suffering extreme drought effects and, prior to this declaration, a growing number of individual properties were seeking and achieving individual drought declarations."
Cr Christensen said the whole of region drought declaration was important amid seriously challenging times for primary producers.
"While property owners within a drought declared area still need to apply to be able to access any assistance, the very fact that the plight of this region has been publicly and officially recognised is important validation," he said.
"Many producers have already had to step out and prove their plight through an individual drought declaration, however the fact that the whole region is now declared says 'you are not alone'.
"This declaration recognises a harsh and cruel reality that our local producers have been battling for all too long. Our thoughts continue to be not only with drought affected primary producers in the Scenic Rim, but also with everyone impacted by this drought across the supply chain and across local government and state borders."
Council said land owners in need of drought assistance in the Scenic Rim should phone the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Business Information Centre on 13 25 23 or visit daf.qld.gov.au.
Scenic Rim state MP Jon Krause said his office was ready to provide information on assistance available to farmers as a result of the declaration.
"People on the land in Scenic Rim are hurting due to a cruel lack of rain," he said.
"Of course I welcome this declaration, but the minister really should pay more attention to what's going on just outside his office window in Brisbane.
"It was blatantly obvious that Scenic Rim was in drought months ago - that's why I asked the minister to act in 2018 and again in March this year."
For the latest drought-declaration map, visit longpaddock.qld.gov.au/drought/drought-declarations/