Federal Government drought support measures announced today will deliver much needed economic stimulus for farm-dependent communities and small businesses doing it tough as they brace for another long, hot summer.
The Government’s latest drought package, worth $709 million in direct support, includes no-interest periods for drought loans for farmers and now importantly for small businesses, further support for rural schools and remote students, and economic stimulus for regional communities.
AgForce General President Georgie Somerset said that regional Queensland would welcome any and all assistance available from all levels of Government as the drought showed no signs of easing.
“While there has been some rainfall in certain parts of Queensland recently, it has been nowhere near enough to provide any real relief for farmers and communities besieged by this crippling drought,” Mrs Somerset said.
“That’s why we’re joining the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) in calling for the initiatives announced in the package today and previously to reach the people who need it as quickly as possible, so that they can survive the summer ahead.
“Countless farming families won’t be able to plant a summer crop this season, others can’t afford to feed their livestock, while businesses in farming communities continue to close at an alarming rate.
“Many farming families have been without any real cash flow for consecutive years now, and if they can’t spend in the towns where they live, everyone in the area suffers and communities wither.
“The Government’s decision to redirect $200 million into a Building Better Regions Fund drought round to support new projects that deliver social and economic benefits to drought-affected communities is therefore vital.
“As is the announcement of $15 million to support schools and childcare facilities facing financial hardship from ongoing drought conditions, including fee concessions for boarding students.”
Mrs Somerset said that while the drought stretched into an eighth consecutive year for some farmers, AgForce was also looking for the Queensland State Government to do more.
“AgForce wrote to the Premier’s office weeks ago seeking to have talks with the State Government to secure a commitment to increase the amount of drought assistance available, including funding local government to provide rates relief.
“It has been disappointing that it has taken so long to engage on such an important issue, but today we were advised we will be meeting with Premier Palaszczuk mid-next week to discuss further drought relief measures.
“We now look forward to joining them at the decision-making table to discuss a range of policy measures we’d like implemented to help provide additional support for farming families living through this terrible drought.”
“The support to date has been welcome and Governments at all levels must monitor changing conditions and promptly adjust their levels of assistance accordingly to meet the needs of affected Queenslanders.”
The Women to Women Business Expo at The J will feature a diversity of innovative local female-led businesses in the arts, services and food industries. W2W was created to support local communities and businesses by providing the opportunity to connect, collaborate, learn and create opportunities for success. The expo will be held on Wednesday, 3 July from 4pm to 9pm at The J, Noosa.
The event will showcase a variety of Sunshine Coast local female-led businesses identified for being innovative in the arts, service and food industries by offering vendor space, exhibitions and workshops. W2W Business Expo aims to bring businesses and consumers together under one roof.
This year’s event will include free workshops on the topics of business management, marketing and finance. There will be a wine tasting workshop (for a small fee) and food and beverages from onsite vendors will be available.
The keynote speaker will be Sandra Arico, President of Innovate Noosa. Participants can learn from the best and the brightest in the industry, as they network with like-minded professionals and learn strategies to advance their business.
The Women to Women Business Expo is proudly presented by The University of the Sunshine Coast, Centre for International Development, Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership (CIDSEL), The J Noosa and Noosa Council.
Council has taken out two accolades at this year’s Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, Queensland (IPWEAQ) Excellence Awards.
The awards recognise councils and individuals who have demonstrated best practice and innovation in public works projects across Queensland.
Council collected the awards for innovation in the design and construction of public works projects for the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve Rainforest Discovery Centre and received a high commendation for the design and construction of public works projects over $10 million for its Evans Street Upgrade.
This is the second year that Sunshine Coast Council has taken out the innovation award with its Nambour Youth Activity Centre and RSL War Memorial receiving top honours in 2016.
Council’s $4.7 million Rainforest Discovery Centre sits within the 55-hectare Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve and offers spectacular views of the heritage-listed Glass House Mountains.
Division 5 Councillor Jenny McKay said the Rainforest Discovery Centre had been sensitively designed to fit in with the look and feel of the reserve.
“Visitors of all ages will go on a journey of inspiration and discovery in the Rainforest Education centre, which features interactive displays, multi-sensory experiences and exhibits,” Cr McKay said.
“Continuing that journey is an elevated boardwalk that snakes its way through the rainforest, a new viewing platform and café offering some of the best views of the Glasshouse Mountains.
“I applaud not only the construction team, who overcame a myriad of building challenges on this environmentally sensitive site, but also the many people, including the Design Advisory Panel, volunteers and Friends of Mary Cairncross, whose contribution has been, and will continue to be, central to the ongoing success of the new Discovery Centre.”
Division 8 Councillor Jason OPray said the $20 million upgrade of Evans Street was the largest transport project ever to be delivered entirely by council.
“Evans Street represents much more than a successful engineering outcome – it has transformed a congested, visually unappealing two-lane road, to a four-lane efficient transport corridor, with landscaping and architectural features, three major signalised intersections and state of the art technology,” Cr OPray said.
“It was a landmark project for council – it was technically challenging, and was completed successfully on budget and two months ahead of schedule.
“I would like to congratulate the project team for this well-deserved industry recognition.”
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