Central Highlands Regional Council is fully drought declared following the latest recommendations from Local Drought Committees (LDCs).
The change was announced last week after LDCs postponed their April end-of-wet-season recommendations to assess seasonal conditions and pasture response after subsequent rainfall events earlier in the year.
Mayor Kerry Hayes, who had pushed for a more adaptive drought declaration process, welcomed the update.
‘We appreciate the Local Drought Committee considering seasonal conditions and monitoring pasture responses,’ Mayor Hayes said.
‘This method should provide better targeted assistance to producers experiencing effects of drought and we’re grateful that those north of the Capricorn Highway now have access to financial support.’
The LDCs’ previous recommendation made in April saw only the area to the south of the Capricorn Highway drought declared, despite ten properties with Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declarations in the northern Central Highlands.
Central Highlands Cotton Growers’ and Irrigators Association President Aaron Kiely said it was great to see the whole region drought declared.
‘I think a lot of people have been struggling but have not come forward as they feel there are others further west that are doing it even tougher,’ Mr Kiely said.
‘In terms of rainfall there are certainly areas to the north of the highway who had less than many areas to the south.’
Mr Kiely said drawing a line along the Capricorn Highway had also made it difficult for those farming land on both of its sides.
There are now 32 drought-declared local government areas, four partially drought declared, and 40 Individually Droughted Properties in a further nine local government areas.