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Floods Cause Major Damage to Farming & Grazing

07 February 2012

AUSTRALIA - While there is understandable concern about the impact of flooding in south-west Queensland towns, broadacre farm group AgForce said aerial surveys show outlying properties have also been hit hard by record river heights.

AgForce Cattle president and Mitchell local Grant Maudsley spent many hours over the weekend flying over flooded country around Mitchell, Roma and St George and said farmers and graziers are only just holding up after experiencing three major floods in two years.

"We dropped in on some homesteads to check how families are faring and found some very floodweary folk,” Mr Maudsley said.

"Just like so many Queenslanders these families are facing major clean-ups of their homes, but they are also confronted with the daunting and costly task of rebuilding fences and infrastructure swept away by the floods.

"I saw kilometre after kilometre of fencing down and unfortunately some damage on properties may not be covered by insurance, and primary producers will have to take out loans to pay for repairs making their financial recovery even more difficult.

"Fortunately most cattle seem to be faring reasonably well on higher ground, though we are anticipating some stock losses.“

AgForce president Brent Finlay thanked Agriculture Minister Tim Mulherin and senior DEEDI staff for keeping in close contact with AgForce and assisting with aerial surveys.

Mr Finlay participated in weekend teleconferences with both the Minister and his department and reinforced the need for financial assistance for the farm sector to help rebuild properties.

"Many farmers are reluctant to put up their hand for this help, but during the terrible 2011 floods and Cyclone Yasi, financial assistance from the State and Federal government was welcomed by even the most stoic of producers,” Mr Finlay said.

Mr Finlay said AgForce is in regular contact with AgForce members south of Charleville in the Wyandra and Cunnamulla areas, and to the south of St George towards Dirranbandi.

"We will continue to relay on-the-ground information to government to ensure farming and grazing communities get whatever help they need in the difficult weeks and months ahead," said Mr Finlay.

According to the National Farmers Federation, the government will be handing out disaster relief payments to flood affected families soon.

The NFF commented: “The Prime Minister’s announced that A$1,000 will be available to adults and A$400 to children affected by the floods across nine shires in NSW and QLD is a welcome first step – but we predict that much more financial assistance will be needed to help some communities and farmers get back on their feet."

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