Category D On-farm Productivity and Riparian Recovery Program

Tropical Cyclone Oswald and its associated flooding in January 2013 led a trail of destruction across the Wide Bay Burnett region. The floods caused significant distress in the community and damage to the environment and infrastructure. 

Record breaking flood levels were experienced in the Burnett River and Baffle Creek catchments as well as major flooding in the Mary River catchments causing extensive damage to rivers, floodplains and associated areas and the impacts were devastating to the region’s natural assets and agricultural industries. 
 
In response, the Commonwealth Government agreed to a $15 million NDRRA Category D exceptional circumstances package for the On-farm Productivity and Riparian Recovery Program. The program aimed to assist primary producers in the region to get back into productivity and address environmental impacts following the flooding.
 
The Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) was allocated $8 million to develop flood recovery programs in the region. 
 
BMRG Chief Executive Officer Penny Hall said five programs were implemented across the Bundaberg and North Burnett priority areas. “The five flood recovery programs supported weed management, flood debris clean up, floodplain stabilisation and management, riparian stabilisation and management as well as land productivity,” Ms Hall said. “The funding was vital and helped many farmers in the region to get back on track when they were really struggling so the program was an overall success and we are proud of our achievements.“
 
“Thanks to the program, 40,000 hectares of weeds have been man-aged and controlled across the North Burnett and Bundaberg regions. More than 200 hectares of riparian areas were stabilised throughout the Burnett and Kolan rivers and in the Mary River catchment. Floodplain plans were developed for Three Moon Creek in the North Burrnett and Byee Floodplain in South Burnett,” she said.
 
Ms Hall said the program also helped primary producers with their own challenges.
 
“Ninety-one primary producers got one-on-one assistance with soil health testing and recommendations and 88 landholders received immediate grants for soil health and land productivity. Twenty?one farmers received assistance with priority floodplain works and seven landholders had help removing flood debris from their land.
 
“This program has made a significant change to some struggling farmers’ lives for the better so we are pleased we were able to assist and thank the Commonwealth and Queensland governments for the funding enable us to roll out this program.
 
“There are flow-on effects from this program as well, one positive outcome as a direct result of Oswald recovery work was having a skilled and experienced team in place who were able to respond quickly to the after effects of Cyclone Marcia in February this year,”she said.
 
The on-farm Productivity and Riparian Recovery Program was jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments and was managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.