Katter’s Australian Party MPs have made impassioned calls to the State and Federal Governments to urgently help North Western graziers who are losing stock by the hundreds due to torrential rain and flooding.
State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said producers were grateful for the rain that had been received over the past week but that the situation had quickly been “capitulated to one of disaster”.
He said excessive and unrelenting falls, flooding, freezing winds and a lack of grass meant producers were forced to sit idle as they experience catastrophic stock losses.
Mr Katter said there were also concerning animal welfare issues unfolding.
“It has very quickly turned into a dire situation now where towns and properties are cut off and it’s very hard, if not impossible, to get fodder in,” he said.
“Many producers who do have fodder are stranded into their homesteads and unable to get out to locate and feed stock.
“We are now demanding from the State and Federal Governments that an emergency coordination response takes place straight away to help these people who are in desperate need out there.
“Unfortunately we are a country with high variation in seasons and the main message I want to give to people is we need to observe what is happening out there and reflect on this.
“As a race of people we have put man on the moon and done some wonderful things with technology but we still haven’t worked out how to iron out the bumps and droughts and high incidences of rainfall.
“There should be dams and storages built along these systems that not only to mitigate these kinds of circumstances but also to help to ride out issues like drought.”
Mr Katter said he and Federal KAP Leader Bob Katter had contacted the State Minister for Emergency Services Craig Crawford and Federal Minister for Defence Darren Chester on this issue.
There are calls for the ADF to fly in to locate and drop fodder to stranded stock.
Mr Katter (Junior) said help was needed immediately.
“There is absolute panic out there,” he said.
“We desperately need some help out there to try and save the cattle we can.
“Unfortunately there has already been enormous stock losses and there are some welfare issues we need to take care of too.
“These cattle are stranded and bogged and at the very least we need to get some fodder to them and also be ready for the aftermath.
“This assistance needs to come from the very top.”
Richmond grazier Betty Witherspoon, who is located on Maroola Station 120km from town, said she was among the many in a hopeless situation.
“We have had 26 inches of rain here in a week – I have been here for 32 years and that is just unheard off,” she said.
“I have got about 500 head who are probably up on high ridges trying to stay dry but there will be absolutely no food for them.
“The sun hasn’t come out so the grass can’t grow – it just won’t stop raining.”
Mrs Witherspoon said she and her family had tried desperately to get to their cattle to feed hay but relentless rain and flooding meant they were bogged almost as soon as they left their homestead.
“It’s going to be weeks before we can drive to them – the only way they will survive is if hay is flown in and dropped to them now.
“What can you do?”