Local Queenslander, Minister for Agriculture and Maranoa MP David Littlepoud today delivered the news defence aircraft will drop fodder for cattle cut off by flooding in north-west and central Queensland.
Queensland is facing a one in 100 year natural disaster with a year’s worth of rain falling in just a few days. The Ross River Dam in Townsville reached 247 per cent capacity at the flood’s peak.
Mr Littleproud said the logistics still need to be worked out but the Australian defence force will use its aircraft to assist farmers in these uncontrollable circumstances.
“Thousands of cattle are cut off by flood waters and we had to act decicively to stop them from starving,” he said.
National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) President Simson said NFF member, the peak body for Queensland broadacre agriculture, AgForce had been working closely with the State and Federal Government.
“Elected officials from the Prime Minster down, have listened to advice from AgForce as to how farmers and stock are affected.
Sourcing, transporting by air and delivering hay bales to paddocks cut off by floodwaters is a massive logistical task.
“It is arguably a job that could only be handled by the military and the Prime Minister’s swift action in sanctioning such help will be transformative for many impacted farmers.”
What has the damage been to Queensland agriculture?
The wellbeing of graziers, the welfare of livestock and damage to some crops, particularly in the north west of Queensland, is a significant concern.
Areas, including around Julia Creek and Cloncurry, Richmond, Winton and the Gulf Country, have received a staggering amount of rain as well being battered by intense cold winds, and there are cattle losses because of exposure as well as the inability of stock to access fodder. In certain instances too, graziers are having to evacuate their properties.
Some sugar cane crops have been flattened by the rain and winds.
Bananas and other horticultural crops look to be fairing the weather at the moment, however the challenge for these and all agricultural produce will be access to market, with a lot of roads blocked by flooding.
Additional disaster relief support
Rabobank deputy regional manager for North Queensland Chris Adams said Rabobank will employ additional support measures for farmers affected by North Queensland floods and rain damage.
He said the bank would work directly with individual clients to help support them through immediate difficulties with Rabobank providing a range of assistance measures to those in applicable circumstances.
These assistance measures include deferral of scheduled loan repayments, waiving of break costs on early redemption of Farm Management Deposits, waiving of fees on loan increases necessary to assist in rebuilding operations and waiving of fees for equipment finance contract variations.
Coles Supermarket have also stepped up to help flood-stricken Queenslanders by pledging to match dollar-for-dollar every customer donation to Red Cross.
The proceeds from Coles will be donated to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund to help communities affected by natural disasters, including those affected by bushfires in Tasmania and Victoria.
“With more and more disasters in our region, a generous donation at a Coles checkout to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recover Fund will help communities who need it most,” Red Cross National Emergency Services Manager Andrew Coghlan said.
“It means that trained Red Cross teams can be there as soon as disaster strikes in Australia and stand with them on their road to recovery.”