Krause says farmers still hurting after Canungra fires but DAF says few were affected

FIRE DAMAGE: Scorched earth after a bushfire tore through a property at Tarome. Photo: Larraine Sathicq
FIRE DAMAGE: Scorched earth after a bushfire tore through a property at Tarome. Photo: Larraine Sathicq

Scenic Rim MP Jon Krause has called on the state government to conduct bush fire impact assessments for Scenic Rim farmers.

But Agriculture Minister Mark Furner fired back, saying it was offensive for Mr Krause to try to turn fires into a political issue.

Mr Krause said the government should ensure it listened to local primary producers about damage suffered as a result of bushfires, to ensure all possible support was offered.

"So much agricultural and grazing land, and other farming businesses, have been affected by fires across different parts of the Scenic Rim electorate - from Binna Burra to Rosevale and in between," he said.

"Our communities are hurting, as a result of fire and drought, both farmers and others too, such is the links between the people on the land and the broader community in this region.

"I'm calling on the government, through the Department of Agriculture, to ensure that these losses are assessed as soon as possible by departmental officers and all possible assistance offered."

Mr Furner said Mr Krause's attempt to politicise bushfires was abhorrent.

"My department has worked closely with Scenic Rim Regional Council in relation to the current fires and those in September," he said. "In the September fires only a relatively small number of primary producers were directly impacted in the Scenic Rim.

"The impacted producers that DAF were aware of were contacted but declined a visit. The September fires in the Scenic Rim overall had relatively limited impact on agriculture and while a Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements category B activation has been made for the Scenic Rim, the threshold requirements for category C will not be met."

Mr Furner said with regards to the most recent fires DAF had arranged with council to visit Scenic Rim properties this week, to give producers time to collate property impacts.

"Currently under category B, Scenic Rim producers can obtain freight subsidies of up to $5000 and concessional loans of up to $250.000 at an interest rate of 0.2 per cent," he said.

"Under the current drought declaration, producers in the Scenic Rim can obtain freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates of up to $30,000 from the Palaszczuk government, matched by a further top up to the emergency water infrastructure rebate from the federal government of up to $25,000."

Mr Krause said while drought declarations meant freight subsidies and other help was already in place, what producers needed was a cash injection.

"I've listened to small businesses from Beechmont and Canungra to Boonah and Kalbar and I know they too are impacted by these bushfires, and the ongoing drought," he said.

"It means there's less money going around the district - and the fires are still going too, making it hard for people to get back on their feet."

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