Council pushes Central Highland drought declaration

Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes.
Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes. Contributed

WITH the Central Highlands receiving only 52 per cent of the average annual rainfall so far this year, concerns are mounting among local landholders about prevailing dry conditions.

On Tuesday, the Central Highlands Regional Council resolved to ask the Local Drought Committee to recommend a drought declaration status for the local government area.

Mayor Cr Kerry Hayes said the region's last drought declaration was revoked by the Queensland Government's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on May 25.

"This was following Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which certainly brought good rainfall to the eastern part of our region,” he said.

"However, the rest of our region didn't receive any season-changing rain. There was also a lack of rainfall in autumn and winter and this has certainly changed pastoral conditions across the Central Highlands.”

Cr Hayes said the council had been approached by a number of landholders who were concerned about the general condition of the region, with only 343mm of the average 650mm recorded this year.

"A normal trigger to changing the drought declaration of any area is largely based on individually declared properties,” he said.

"As such, we strongly encourage rural landholders to pursue individual property drought declarations to strengthen the case for the entire Central Highlands region.

"The region thrives on agriculture, from macadamia nuts and chickpeas to citrus, wheat and, of course, cattle,” he said. "But all of these commodities need one precious thing, and that's water.

"While we're always hopeful for a good summer season, there are no guarantees. Any assistance our landholders can access is a blessing.”

Topics:  central highlands regional council drought

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