Shorten: Farmers should get compo for cattle losses
FARMERS who lost cattle in the catastrophic north Queensland floods should be directly compensated for their losses by the Commonwealth, Opposition leader Bill Shorten has claimed.
He called for the Morrison Government to back the proposal.
In the unprecedented disaster, some graziers have lost up to 95 per cent of the stock in regions including Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Winton, Hughenden and Richmond.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has indicated he would be announcing a more detailed recovery package to the floods within days, having already approved $1 million in payments to affected councils, $75,000 grants to flood-affected farmers and $25,000 in grants to small businesses.
Mr Shorten this morning said the losses to cattle farmers were catastrophic and a united approach was needed.
"They should look at compensating for the livestock losses. This is on a scale never seen before," he said.
"If they want to compensate farmers for cattle losses and livestock losses, they should.
I call upon the government to implement that, if they don't and they have a different way, I guess we'll have to live with it.
"I put this idea forward to Mr Morrison on behalf of the cattle herders of Australia and the farmers."
He also said the government, as a matter of urgency, should work with the Queensland Government to improve and look at the severe damage that has occured to the Mt Isa to Townsville railway.
Mr Shorten has yet to announce any proposal for how much compensation should be provided, or how it should be distributed.
Earlier this morning, Mr Morrison organised the Liberal and National MPs to buy "Pratt Cattle Transport" hats, the sale of which raise money for flood recovery efforts.
"Our Government stands united in backing all Australians affected by natural disasters, whether it's floods, droughts or fires," Mr Morrison said.
"It's part of our plan to keep Australia strong. We'll do everything we can to help them rebuild and regroup."
Mr Morrison on Monday said a "station-by-station" solution would be needed to rebuild the cattle industry in north Queensland.
"We are looking at the full range of issues, whether it's addressing the issue of mortgage debt, the restocking that is required and the rebuilding of that part of Australia," Mr Morrison said.