Quilpie Shire should be eligible for funding under the Federal Government’s $35-million Drought Communities Program (DCP), Senator Matt Canavan and Gregory MLA Lachlan Millar said today.
“The Commonwealth deserves credit for establishing a program to help drought affected communities but the fact that the Quilpie Shire Council has missed out on funding for DCP has perplexed many people in western Queensland,” Senator Canavan and Mr Millar said in a joint statement.
“Quilpie has been just as affected by the current drought as other areas that have been declared under the DCP.”
“Quilpie Mayor Stuart McKenzie and Lachlan Millar came to Canberra recently to point out to me the injustice of Quilpie missing out. I promised to look into it and the result is this report,” Senator Canavan said.
“I argue strongly that the only reason Quilpie has missed out is because the rainfall data is incomplete in Quilpie and it is affected by a storm event in February 2014 that did more damage than good. Without that storm, Quilpie would have been eligible.
“Because of deficiencies in the data, we need to look at other ways of measuring the impact of drought in Quilpie. So I and my office have conducted a survey of Quilpie businesses and found that the average business in Quilpie has suffered a 44 per cent downturn in retail turnover since the drought.”
The survey received responses from 42 businesses from a sample of 55 non-farm businesses on record in Quilpie, giving a response rate of more than 75 per cent.
“In our view, the evidence is strong enough to conclude that Quilpie should be declared under the DCP,” Senator Canavan and Mr Millar said.
Senator Canavan has presented the Deputy Prime Minister with the 30-page report, co-authored with Mr Millar, with these findings.