Coordinator-General of the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, the Hon Shane L Stone AC QC, has welcomed Winton Mayor, Councillor Gavin Baskett, to the Agency’s Advisory Board.
Meeting this week in Canberra, the Board continues to advise on ways the Agency can best support regional and rural Australians through challenges like drought, COVID-19 and ongoing recovery from the 2019 North Queensland floods.
“Our boots-on-the-ground approach continues to keep us in touch with farmers and producers and their communities across the nation,” Mr Stone said. “Having community leaders like Gavin on my Advisory Board is another important way I can hear what matters in the regions.”
To ensure a continued strong focus on the ongoing recovery of North and North-West Queensland following the 2019 flood event, the Board’s membership includes representation from a Mayor from one of the worst affected shires.
Cr Baskett succeeds Cloncurry Mayor, Greg Campbell, who has been a Board member from the Agency’s foundation and has been a strong advocate for communities across the Gulf country and beyond.
“Our plan has always been to rotate the membership of local government leaders from the region, so we continue to get a diversity of advice and expertise,” Mr Stone said.
“Greg’s contribution has been outstanding and he will continue to be a go-to source of information as our staff and I visit the region to listen to the communities about what’s working – and what still needs doing – during their years of recovery.”
Cr Baskett’s experience in Winton will also be crucial to all aspects of the Agency’s work.
“Winton has been belted by drought, then the flood and now drought’s back again. They also have the additional pestilence of large grasshopper numbers that ravage feed and regrowth.
Add to that the local impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Gavin Baskett will play a major role in keeping us updated with conditions and how we can best support regional communities through the range of challenges they face,” Mr Stone said.
The National Drought and Flood Agency is built on a strategy of being on the ground with its communities. Mr Stone has covered many thousands of kilometres with staff and Board members, listening to producers, small business owners and other community members, to understand their needs and how their ongoing recovery is best supported.
In the month of June 2020, the Agency’s Regional Recovery Officers travelled almost 14,000 kilometres throughout rural and regional Australia, fulfilling the Agency’s commitment to maintain a strong regional presence.
More information on the Agency’s Advisory Board is available here.