Former Northern Territory chief minister Shane Stone will lead the federal government’s response to the drought
Former Northern Territory chief minister Shane Stone will lead the federal government’s response to the drought

Shane Stone to head national drought agency

FORMER Northern Territory chief minister Shane Stone will lead the federal government's response to the drought.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said drought would be added to the remit of the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency, which is led by Mr Stone, who was paid a $434,690 salary with a $100,000 loading in the role.

The agency, which was renamed National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, will remain in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson gave the change her approval.

"We have seen the success that Shane Stone has had in Queensland in terms of what he has been able to deliver," Ms Simson said.

"It is about delivery. It is not about adding extra layers of ­bureaucracy. It is actually about making sure that the federal money can be targeted and that (Mr Stone) can establish resources out there that are actually going to hit some of the affected areas.

"We know that drought is not just about agriculture, it is about all sorts of things. It doesn't make sense that it just resides in Agriculture. PM & C is probably a better place for it."

The new agency will report to Water Minister David Littleproud.

"I've got to say there have been few activities that I've been more proud of in our public service than the work they have done to reach out and support the regional grazing and other families affected by the droughts in north Queensland.

"It has been the public service at their best, whether it was in Townsville or across the range, the sense of confidence, encouragement and hope that was given by these amazing people working within that agency, led by Shane, has been truly inspirational."

Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said the government was failing in its response to the drought.

"What matters is action on the ground and we've seen a lot of committees and a lot of reviews but insufficient action on the ground," he said.



Jail for man who smashed into unmarked police car

premium_icon Jail for man who smashed into unmarked police car

Cameron Rhodes pleaded guilty to dangerous operation of a vehicle.

Three injured after three-vehicle crash

premium_icon Three injured after three-vehicle crash

Emergency services were called to the busy Gladstone road about 10.30am.

Easter in Gladstone to be bigger and better than ever

premium_icon Easter in Gladstone to be bigger and better than ever

Thousands of people are expected to come to town to celebrate the long weekend...