A cow lays dead between Julia Creek and Cloncurry in northwest Queensland. Picture: Nigel Hallett
A cow lays dead between Julia Creek and Cloncurry in northwest Queensland. Picture: Nigel Hallett

New cattle disaster unfolding further north

FLOOD waters that killed hundreds of thousands of cattle in outback Queensland are now doing the same in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Carpentaria Shire Mayor Jack Bawden says local graziers are facing an "absolute disaster" after flood waters arrived.

Water levels have peaked and are now slowly receding and he fears what farmers will find as the landscape slowly re-emerges.

"Stock losses are still an unknown at the moment but we think it could be 75 per cent, could be 80 per cent," he told AAP on Friday.

Floodwaters that have created chaos in Queensland’s outback are doing the same in Gulf Country. Picture: Rae Stretton
Floodwaters that have created chaos in Queensland’s outback are doing the same in Gulf Country. Picture: Rae Stretton

"It's just horrendous. It's been pretty distressing."

The beef-rich region is home to an estimated eight million head of cattle, and graziers are struggling to come terms with crippling losses.

Mr Bawden said residents knew the floods would hit and many have left their properties for higher ground.

"It's flat country out here. They had to go but they'll be keeping an eye on things by chopper. That's what I'll be doing today."

Nine shires across Queensland are disaster-declared and AgForce boss Michael Guerin says it's still too early to quantify stock losses.

"We've heard a figure of 500,000. We believe it's north of that. But we won't actually know for a number of weeks," he told the ABC.

"We can't get across the land."

The air force has been tasked with getting fuel to the gulf town of Normanton so bush pilots can drop fodder to starving cattle.

Further south, at flood-hit Julia Creek and Richmond, graziers are also struggling to save their surviving animals as they wait for sodden paddocks to dry out.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison arrived in Cloncurry last night to tour flood-affected farms.

He's met with defence personnel who are aiding the massive recovery effort.



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