INDEPENDENT federal Queensland MP Bob Katter and his party’s state MP Shane Knuth say a cow that discovered washed ashore at Mission Beach provides a graphic illustration of the damage done by recent flood waters.
“We’ll never know the full damage but I’d say it’s around $20 million worth when you tally up crops, stock losses, property damage, machinery etc,” Mr Katter said in a statement today.
“We can’t stop them but in the instance of little ones (floods) where if we’d been able to take away a foot or more by going ahead with the North Johnston Transfer it would have helped prevent a lot of damage.”
The recent flooding in North Queensland due to torrential rain saw the worst conditions experienced since the 2010 floods which caused billions of dollars in damage and resulted in the federal government introducing a flood-levy to aid relief efforts.
An area between Townsville and Cairns was declared a disaster zone by the state government due to the recent flooding event, with sugar cane and banana crops caught up in the damage, as well as emergency evacuations.
Farmers have suffered heavy losses due to flooded paddocks and crops - but on Friday AgForce said a few days of good falls are not enough to break a drought that had lasted more than half a decade in many parts of the state.
AgForce North Queensland Regional President Russell Lethbridge said many regional and rural communities were still doing it very tough.
“The prolonged drought has taken an enormous financial, environmental and emotional toll on farming families right throughout Queensland, with more than two-thirds of the state still drought declared,” he said.
“The recent rain has certainly bought a smile to many faces in rural and regional Queensland, but it has been very patchy and it should not be forgotten that many regions in the west were first drought declared back in early to mid-2013, so it’s a long road to recovery.
“The ongoing nature of this drought has overwhelmed even the best efforts of producers to prepare and has been compounded by other challenges such as the kneejerk live export ban in 2011 and continued uncertainty around vegetation management regulations.
“The drought assistance and support measures provided by the State and Federal Governments are very welcome, but are really designed to assist people through a drought that lasts two to three years, whereas many producers are now facing their sixth year with severe rainfall deficits.”