HERE TO HELP: State MP Tony Perrett with Acting Inspector Nick O'Brien on the flooded Leicchardt Highway earlier this week.
HERE TO HELP: State MP Tony Perrett with Acting Inspector Nick O'Brien on the flooded Leicchardt Highway earlier this week. Contributed

Gympie MP confronted by eerie scene of NQ floods

IT WAS scenes of "utter devastation” for Tony Perrett who was at Julia Creek recently with Agricultural Minister Mark Furner, visiting the flood ravaged area along the Flinders Highway where thousands of cattle died from drowning or exposure.

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Mr Perrett, the Shadow Agriculture Minister, was invited along by Mr Furner on Tuesday to see first hand the devastating extent of cattle deaths in the North Queensland floods.

State MP Tony Perrett took this photo from the helicopter showing hundreds of dead cattle at Nelia, 60km east of Julia Creek.
State MP Tony Perrett took this photo from the helicopter showing hundreds of dead cattle at Nelia, 60km east of Julia Creek. Tony Perrett

Mr Perrett was clearly affected by the disaster calling it "confronting, gut-wrenching and sobering.”

"When you see tough men and women out there with a tear in their eye and breaking down because of what you are confronted with, it brings so much of what we do into perspective,” Mr Perrett said.

"There are a lot of issues we deal with as members of parliament but when you see people that through no fault of their own have been impacted like they have and have a sense of helplessness, it really is confronting.”

Mr Perrett said authorities are yet to dispose of the dead carcases strewn all over the region.

"The thing people are confronted with now are the carcases. They can't get on the country as its still too wet to put heavy machinery,” he said.

"The vastness of the area that was affected makes it difficult so they have to deal with that first. Infrastructure is the next big issue.

Dead cattle at Nelia, 60km east of Julia Creek.
Dead cattle at Nelia, 60km east of Julia Creek. Tony Perrett

"There is thousands and thousands of kilometres of fencing that has been lost. Afterwards you have to look beyond to restocking this country as they can afford it. They survived the drought then you get a weather event like this on the back of years of dry weather, they were exposed.

"Everything they worked for just disappeared in front of them. There was nothing they could do to prevent it on the scale it actually occurred. People are shattered.”

A three day sickness continues to kill northwest Queensland's decimated cattle herd.

Graziers also face a 10-year battle to bring back the bloodlines that have helped produce some of Australia's finest cattle over the past quarter of a century.

AgForce, which has been monitoring stock losses after the flooding, predicts the 500,000 death count could grow, with bovine ephemeral fever now a serious threat.

The fever, commonly known as three day sickness, is often lethal among weakened animals and is commonly spread by mosquitoes which have thrived after the floods.

One grazier Mr Perrett spoke to estimated his losses to be in the vicinity of $10 million.

Mr Perrett said the government is doing all it can to help out North Queensland producers.

"This is going to take a long term focus to be able to rebuild these regions,” he said.

"The sheer loss suffered from some of the producers is in the millions.”

Gympie Times


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