A long, hard road to recovery

North west flood recovery progresses

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The support of the Scott Morrison-led federal government has been gratefully received in the north west. Photo - Sally Cripps.

The support of the Scott Morrison-led federal government has been gratefully received in the north west. Photo - Sally Cripps.

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The scars will last for years to come, but the resilience and strength of the men and women devastated in the north-west flood shines through in their determination to rebuild.

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THE scars will last for years to come, but the resilience and strength of the men and women devastated in the north-west flood shines through in their determination to rebuild.

The unprecedented event will impact lives and livelihoods for the foreseeable future, yet with the support of a nation, the initial recovery phase has been nothing short of remarkable.

While graziers are still counting their losses, mounds of carcases have been disposed of and fences are being rebuilt. They are looking to the future and some have started restocking their properties.

Cattle Council Australia director and AgForce cattle board vice-president Lloyd Hick said everyone had been affected differently from the event, yet the response was similar across the board.

"Most people are just getting on with it. At this stage a fair percentage of fencing and repairs have been done and some are ready to start the restocking process.

"There seems to be a proportion of producers who are still not real sure how to go about it from here; there is a little bit of shock. Of course, everybody's businesses are affected differently."

Mr Hick said graziers were thankful for the support they had received not only from the federal and state governments, but from the nation as a whole.

"No doubt we are getting some terrific support from the government, support that we've never seen before.

"But it's not only the government, but the support of the Australian public. I think this has really connected the bush and the city again and we had lost that.

"We had made some connection with the drought, but people seem to be understanding what producers go through. The support from the general public after this flood has been amazing; everyone wanted to be involved in some way."

Gulf Cattlemen's Association president Barry Hughes said the re-election of the coalition government would provide some stability for what lies ahead, with the continuation of the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency.

So far, more than 1300 flood recovery grants have been approved across the region.

The initial round of $75,000 grants is being accessed by property owners to help with the initial rebuild, including replacing fences and other vital infrastructure.

The subsequent round of $400,000 grants, which will be ongoing for five years, is available to eligible producers as they focus on restocking their land.

Mr Hughes said some primary producers were taking stock after the event to determine the best way to rebuild their businesses.

"Those weather events, those one-in-50-year type deals coming on the back of a prolonged drought period, was certainly a telling blow, yet out of every disadvantage comes an advantage and a lot of people are taking advantage, with the help from the federal government to be able to go and source breeder livestock and do it over a five-year period.

"There's going to be some changes and a lot of learning going on with regards to where people were at, to where they find themselves now."

AgForce Cattle president Will Wilson said the disaster would take years to come back from.

"Cattle producers are a resilient bunch and, despite some producers losing almost everything, everyone I have spoken to is planning to rebuild," Mr Wilson said.

"Ongoing support... from government over many years will be required to assist the region to recover fully."

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