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Flood damage ‘devastating’: AgForce

Beef Central, 04/02/2013

AgForce General President Ian Burnett says he has been saddened and concerned by the extent of damage to affected rural properties and communities across Queensland as a result of the 2013 flood event.

Travelling throughout impacted areas in the Burnett and South East regions over the weekend and on Monday, Mr Burnett said damage to crops, stock and infrastructure was in many instances far worse than that which has been portrayed through images seen in the media.

“To actually see firsthand the damage and the way primary producers and rural families have been affected provides a true understanding of how overwhelming these floods have been,” Mr Burnett said.

“In many cases the extent of damage is far worse than the last flood event.

“Irrigation properties have lost huge amounts of equipment and infrastructure, crops are gone and erosion to land is extensive.

“The devastation is astounding and in many instances landholders had barely recovered from the last floods to only now be facing the recovery process again.”

Mr Burnett said many rural families also remained without means of communication, while others were still unable to gain access to their properties to accurately gauge damage.

“We are still unable to contact many of our members who remain without phone or power,” he said.

“It will not be until communication is reinstated and access can be gained to properties that we will have a firm grip on what our industry faces in terms of the damage bill and recovery.”

Mr Burnett said AgForce’s focus was now firmly on assisting members and the broader industry to secure adequate assistance from government and associated agencies.  This includes the organisation advocating for Category C assistance across a number of affected shires as well as the reinstatement of financial counsellors and industry recovery officers to key areas.

“The provision of this support will be crucial to the sector’s ability to recover from this disaster,” he said.

“It is important Category C classification extends to each of the shires affected, while AgForce will also be working on developing the case for Category D assistance where needed.”

“As water subsides I will be visiting more affected areas and speaking to more of our members who require support at this time.”

“In the interim, I strongly encourage affected members to contact AgForce to let us know how badly you have been impacted so that we have as much information as possible to advocate for our industry.

“I also encourage you to be mindful of your own personal wellbeing, as well as that of your family, friends and neighbours, at this challenging time.”

Source: AgForce

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