Queensland graziers struggling with the aftermath of devastating floods will be paying ‘‘a hell of a lot less’’ interest on loans under a plan to help them get back on their feet, Scott Morrison says.
The prime minister was in Townsville on Friday to announce a range of measures to help farmers and local communities return to normality after the unprecedented floods.
People in rural and remote areas of flood-affected north Queensland are being given greater access to Commonwealth-backed concessional loans and mental health support.
Small businesses and not-for-profits will also be provided grants of up to $50000 to rebuild, repair and replace stock, plant and equipment.
Up to 500000 cattle are believed to have drowned in the widespread floodwater.
Mr Morrison had previously met with graziers at Cloncurry and Julia Creek in north-west Queensland, whose herds had been wiped out.
Mr Morrison believes the north Queensland cattle industry can return to its former prosperity, but stressed it would not be easy.
A new livestock industry recovery agency, to be led by former NT chief minister Shane Stone, will help provide farmers with funding to restock their herds and fix on-farm infrastructure like fences.
The rules for the government-owned Regional Investment Corporation will also be changed so it can offer drought-stricken farmers concessional loans.
Farmers will be able to refinance existing debt and access loans for restocking, using their stock as collateral.