` Queensland Flood Destroys Bumper Harvest - Olive Oil Times

Queensland Flood Destroys Bumper Harvest

Jan. 13, 2011
Penelope Barker

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By Penelope Barker
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Sydney

Massive flood­ing through­out south-east­ern Queensland and north­ern New South Wales looks set to dev­as­tate a large por­tion of the Australian olive oil indus­try. The sit­u­a­tion, which is still dete­ri­o­rat­ing, is Australia’s worst nat­ural dis­as­ter. Amanda Bailey, Queensland direc­tor of the Australian Olive Association, is trapped by flood waters on her hill-top prop­erty near Toowoomba, in south-east Queensland, and has been unable to con­tact grow­ers in the region as yet to ascer­tain the seri­ous­ness of the situation.

It’s not a good sit­u­a­tion at all,” reports Bailey. We can’t drive any­where, there
are no shops sell­ing food and there will be no fuel for at least two weeks. There’s been a com­mu­nity col­lec­tion of toys, cloth­ing and bed­ding and a Red Cross truck is on its way to pick it all up. We’re also look­ing after our neigh­bours’ chil­dren while they work on the emer­gency effort.”

The Queensland olive oil indus­try is in its infancy, with well over one mil­lion young trees about to pro­duce their most abun­dant har­vest. This year was sup­posed to be the bumper crop – there was just so much fruit on the trees,” says Bailey. I know of one pro­ducer who had 50,000 kilos of fruit in his grove. He has lost the lot and will prob­a­bly lose the whole grove due to water-log­ging. Fortunately, the grove man­ager sur­vived. Even pro­duc­ers whose groves sur­vive will have lost their har­vest, equip­ment, sheds and pos­si­bly their homes.”

Bailey, who is man­ag­ing direc­tor of The Olive Centre, a spe­cial­ist sup­plier of olive indus­try equip­ment and machin­ery, has also been attempt­ing to con­tact grow­ers in the flood-affected Northern Rivers region of New South Wales with no suc­cess. They’re a close knit group,” says Bailey, and hope­fully they will pull through this crisis.”

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Meanwhile the cri­sis con­tin­ues as more than 86 com­mu­ni­ties, from small towns to major regional cen­tres, lie under­wa­ter or destroyed by flash floods that swept all in their path. Even the Queensland cap­i­tal, Brisbane, has been inun­dated. In all, more than 200,000 peo­ple have been directly affected, across an area the size of the state of New South Wales.

It’s just so wide­spread,” says Bailey. And it’s not over yet.” The dis­as­ter now
even threat­ens the Great Barrier Reef.

If you wish to donate to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal, the account details for dona­tions are:
Account Name: Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal
BSB: 064 013
Account num­ber: 1000 6800
SWIFT code for inter­na­tional dona­tions: CTBAAU2S

Cheques should be made payable to:
The Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal
ABN: 69 689 161 916 and be posted to:

Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal
C/O Department of the Premier and Cabinet
PO Box 15185
City East QLD 4002 Australia

This is a devel­op­ing story. Return here for updates.

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