January 20, 2022

Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Bridget McKenzie and Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien today met with cane growers in Maryborough to discuss federal assistance to help Wide Bay-Burnett primary producers get back on their feet following the devastating floods.

At the property of third-generation cane farmer Alan Otto, Minister McKenzie, Mr O’Brien and Maryborough Canegrowers chairman Jeff Atkinson witnessed the damage caused when the floods swept through Mr Otto’s crop.

“It’s devastating when you see dead stock in a paddock and crops that have been lovingly tended for many generations, as is the case with the cane farmers around here, absolutely wiped out,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Our goal is to make sure the Wide Bay Burnett region gets back on its feet as quickly as possible, and that’s why we have a raft of supports in place, not just for farmers but small business owners that have been impacted, and homeowners.”

“We know that there were 210 houses inundated as a result of this event and hundreds of producers affected.”

Extraordinary assistance grants of up to $50,000 are available for flood-affected primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations. The grants are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and will be available to eligible applicants in the Fraser Coast, Gympie, Bundaberg, North Burnett and South Burnett local government areas.

Mr O’Brien said a range of assistance including the extraordinary grant assistance grants would be essential to help primary producers to repair and rebuild.

“Agriculture generates over $1 billion in productivity here in Wide Bay, it’s one of the biggest drivers of our economy, so at a local level, agriculture is vital,” Mr O’Brien said.

“From the moment this disaster started happening, I was receiving phone calls from Minister Bridget McKenzie, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Prime Minister Scott Morrison and we have put in place a range of financial support.

“At a national level, we’re looking to agriculture to take us into the future and become a $100 billion export industry, and we can only do that if we are supporting our farmers.”

Small businesses and not-for-profit community organisations seriously affected by Ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth are also eligible to apply for the grants to help them overcome the damage.

Eligible clean-up, reinstatement activities and emergency measures include:

  • Equipment and materials to undertake clean-up
  • Additional labour costs (above and beyond normal wage expenditure i.e. day-to-day staffing)
  • Disposing of damaged goods and injured or dead livestock, including associated costs
  • Repairs to buildings (other than housing)
  • Fencing not covered by any other assistance
  • Reconditioning/ repairing essential plant and equipment
  • Salvaging crops, grain and feeds
  • Purchase or hire/ lease costs for equipment essential to the immediate resumption of the business
  • Payment for tradespeople to conduct safety inspections
  • Essential repairs to premises and internal fittings that is not covered by insurance.

For more information on grants for primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations phone Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority on 1800 623 946 or visit http://www.qrida.qld.gov.au.

Further information on disaster assistance can be found on the Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s website at www.qra.qld.gov.au.


In the spirit of Australia, I acknowledge all citizens who contribute to making our nation the greatest on earth.

I acknowledge our defence force personnel, past, present, and emerging, for their service to our nation, and particularly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of Australia.

I also acknowledge the Australian taxpayers who, through their hard work, pay for the infrastructure, health, education, and emergency services that keep our proud nation healthy, safe, and prosperous.