PRODUCERS suffering financial hardship after Queensland's bovine Johne's disease (BJD) outbreak will now be eligible for up to $200,000 in financial assistance.
Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne has moved to double the cap of the BJD assistance scheme in a bid to relieve financial stress on beef producers restricted by the government's industry-backed campaign to keep Queensland BJD-free.
The discovery of the disease on a central Queensland cattle stud in 2012 caused widespread damage to the industry with more than 100 properties placed under quarantine during the trace-forward operation to eradicate the pathogen.
Mr Byrne said the increased financial assistance would be welcome news for producers who had already reached the existing cap of $100,000.
"In addition, we want to give producers every opportunity to take advantage of this funding, so the deadline for applications will be extended from March 27 to June 30," Mr Byrne said. "I encourage all eligible producers to take advantage of this financial support."
Mr Byrne said the Palaszczuk government recognised the impact of the disease control program on Queensland beef producers with the state already approving payments totalling more than $2.8 million in assistance and supplementary payments.
"This includes $648,172 under the Direct Market Assistance Program, $1,085,171 under the Supply Chain Pathway Assistance Program and $43,885 under the Short-term Quarantine Assistance Program. We have also made supplementary payments to over 75 percent of eligible producers to the value of $1,081,000."
Delivered by the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority (QRAA), the assistance is part of a package worth more than $5 million with Mr Byrne promising the department would continue to work closely with industry to manage the disease.
"This increase in payments highlights the Queensland government's commitment to building a stronger and more profitable livestock industry in Queensland."
He said he was keen to hear industry's view on the future management of BJD in Queensland as part of the review of the national BJD program that commenced last month.
"Participation in the review provides an opportunity to ensure the best interests of Queensland's livestock industries form part of the future control and management of BJD."
Essential details To find out more about BJD financial assistance and supplementary payments call 13 25 23 or visit the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website. Application forms and information on how to apply are available at www.qraa.qld.gov.au or freecall 1800 623 946. BJD is notifiable under legislation and all suspect cases should be reported. If BJD is suspected on your property, do not move or cull suspect cattle. Isolate the animals and contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23 or a private veterinarian.