QUEENSLAND grower groups have welcomed the flood relief assistance announced by the Federal and State this week.
But said this needed to be extended to more areas.
Peak industry body Growcom welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday that clean-up and recovery grants of up to $25 000 were now available for farmers.
The organisation last week called for the Federal Government to fast-track the declaration of Category C assistance in the hardest hit areas.
This week the organisation provided detailed supporting data to government to justify Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) support, after surveying growers across the state about damage to their crops and infrastructure in the severe weather and floods of the Australia Day long weekend.
Growcom chief executive Alex Livingstone said growers were already seeking to apply, with forms and guidelines expected to be available next week.
"The availability of these recovery grants and other assistance will provide an important injection of confidence and allow growers to get on with urgent rebuilding and replanting,'' he said.
"We also welcome news this week of the Disaster Income Recovery Subsidy (DIRS) which will provide help to farmers who can demonstrate they have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the natural disaster.''
But the subsidy is so far only available to individuals in Bundaberg, Gympie, Fraser Coast, North Burnett and Lockyer Valley.
It will provide fortnightly payments equivalent to the maximum rate of the Centrelink Newstart Allowance, depending on individual circumstances.
This is on top of payments for one-off emergency financial assistance.
Mr Livingstone said he expected Category C, DIRS and one-off emergency financial assistance arrangements would be extended to growers in regions outside the five so far announced.
"Other regions including Scenic Rim, Fassifern Valley, Sunshine Coast and Logan and Albert regions were also hard hit by the flooding and severe weather,'' he said.
Mr Livingstone said damage in horticulture across many districts and commodities had been severe and extremely distressing.
"Kalbar had the worst flooding that has been seen in 60 years while the Sunshine Coast lost tree crops to severe wind,'' he said.
"It is only logical that these areas should be included in access to assistance measures.
He said in total, flood damage was likely to cost growers more than $100 million in lost production and infrastructure.
"We calculate at least 65 per cent of growers in the Lockyer Valley, 55 per cent in the Fassifern Valley, 50 per cent in the Bundaberg region and 30 per cent in the Gayndah/Mundubbera region have been severely impacted,'' he said.
"Growcom believes the industry needs wage subsidies to help growers to keep existing staff and the appointment of Industry Recovery Officers (IROs) to help growers access assistance as quickly and as efficiently as possible.''
An up-to-date list of assistance available to horticulture growers can be found at growcom.com.au