LAUNCH: Annastacia Palaszczuk launches the Queensland Drought Appeal at the Ekka.
LAUNCH: Annastacia Palaszczuk launches the Queensland Drought Appeal at the Ekka. Annette Dew

Noosa digging deep for farmers

QUEENSLANDERS have been urged to dig deep to give much-needed relief to drought-stricken farmers.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has launched the Queensland Drought Appeal with Noosa News, News Corp's regional Queensland papers, The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail joining forces with Seven News and the Country Women's Association to raise awareness during the state's showcase bush event, the Ekka.

Kicking off the appeal, Ms Palaszczuk and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner announced the State Government would contribute $100,000.

The Premier acknow- ledged the drought was taking its toll on farmers throughout Australia, and now was the appropriate time to start the appeal, given the wave of public awareness around the issue.

"We haven't forgotten our farmers, we have been making sure that families are getting the help that they need, but there has been a national awareness that has been raised as well, so we want to make sure our Queensland farmers are benefiting from that appeal,” she said.

"That's why our small donation of $100,000 is on behalf of Queenslanders.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the appeal can visit the Queensland Drought Appeal site or SMS "drought” to 0484200200.

Over half of Queensland remains in the grips of drought. Some of the 23 local council areas drought- declared have been without rain since 2013.

This year's summer was the driest on record in Queensland since 1989-90.

Ms Palaszczuk earlier said the appeal was one more example of Queenslanders helping Queenslanders.

"This has been a prolonged drought having a terrible impact on so many families,” she said.

The appeal is aimed at families most in need as a grassroots way of city families attending this year's Ekka to show they care.

Mr Furner said all money raised would be spent on the ground to assist those who lived in drought-stricken communities.

"While our farmers do it tough throughout this drought that has a direct flow-on effect to many other businesses in rural and regional communities,” Mr Furner said.

"The big dry has hit the economic returns of hard- working Queenslanders in those areas, placing them under severe financial and emotional stress.”

QCWA state president Joy Coulson said the money would go directly to families in the worst affected areas.

"We are overwhelmed with this generosity,” she said.

Telstra, Commonwealth Bank and cloud data service provider Bulletproof have joined the appeal to provide technical support.

The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail will highlight the stories of the drought across the Ekka and during the appeal.

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