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A wild storm left Gayndah’s horticulture industry in need

TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION: Hail storms stripped trees of fruit, leaves and branches, as well as damaging irrigation systems.
TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION: Hail storms stripped trees of fruit, leaves and branches, as well as damaging irrigation systems. Contributed

A TRAIL of destruction 8km wide has left Gayndah's horticulture industry desperate for help.

Hail storms just prior to Christmas destroyed entire crops in some orchards.

A Citrus Storm Damage Assistance meeting was held on Thursday.

The losses suffered were made crystal clear.

Judy Shepherd from Gayndah Fruit Growers Association told the meeting that growers had "an estimated gross loss of $30 million".

"We need a declaration (of exceptional circumstances)," she said.

The Declaration of Exceptional Circumstances would allow for shire-wide low-interest loans.

North Burnett Regional Council CEO Mark Pitt said the storm would not only affect growers but the whole town.

"If we are talking about a $30 million loss, we're looking at $150 million impact on this town, which then spreads through the region," Mr Pitt said.

Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers executive officer Peter Hockings said his organisation would be writing a letter of support for a declaration.

"I estimate it to be closer to a $210 million impact to the region," Mr Hockings said.

Brian Gallagher from Citrus Monitoring Services described the loss of income as a "pretty big body blow".

"You've got two years of costs with one year of income," he said.

"They're probably not going to get back into full production for another two years.

"I've been here 40 years and I've never seen anything like this before."  

Topics:  damage destruction gayndah orchard



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