Queensland’s remaining drought declarations have been revoked, making the state officially drought-free for the first time in over a decade. 

The Queensland Government has announced the revocation of drought status in the last two remaining local government areas - Bulloo and Diamantina - marking the end of a drought that began in early 2013.

Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities, confirmed the lifting of the drought declarations following recommendations from Local Drought Committees and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). 

These areas, which represent almost 10 per cent of Queensland, were the last to be considered affected by the drought. Queensland had seen drought declarations cover up to 88 per cent of its territory at the drought's peak.

The improved seasonal conditions towards the end of 2023 and into 2024 played a critical role in this positive shift. 

With the end of the drought declarations, previous aid programs like the Drought Relief Assistance Scheme, which included freight subsidies, will no longer be available. 

However, the state government has shifted its focus towards preparing for future droughts, which are an inevitable part of Queensland’s climate.

Minister Furner emphasised the government’s commitment to supporting primary producers in building resilience against future droughts. 

“This is a landmark moment with no areas of Queensland now drought declared,” he said. 

“We all know that droughts will happen again, and that is why the Queensland Government now provides funding to help our primary producers prepare for the next drought.”

Among the initiatives introduced are the Farm Business Resilience Program and Farm Management Grants, funded jointly by the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the Queensland Government’s Drought and Climate Adaptation Program. 

These grants offer rebates for professional assistance in developing farm business plans, aiming to fortify the agricultural sector against future climatic adversities.

Additionally, the Queensland Rural Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) is administering drought preparedness grants and concessional loans to bolster drought readiness and recovery, with funds available up to $50,000 for grants and $250,000 for loans, accessible at any time irrespective of drought status.

Despite the general relief, some areas continue to experience challenging conditions. The state recognises these situations with the provision for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration for producers still facing difficulties.