Australian Floods and Local Wisdom

AUSTRALIA - The collective knowledge of 500 years of managerial experience in the Gulf region of north-west Queensland and surrounding areas is the most valuable guide to making informed decisions about how to deal with the current flood situation, said AgForce president John Cotter.
calendar icon 13 February 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

Mr Cotter flew to Cloncurry and Burketown yesterday with Queensland Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin to verify and confirm the information AgForce has been receiving since December about the situation in the Barkly Tableland, Boulia and the Gulf Country.

“Yesterday we met with local producers and mayors who collectively have 500 years managerial experience in the Gulf and surrounding areas. I wanted to eyeball them and ensure that the information we were getting was accurate and appropriate.

“These producers have a lot of aircraft working in the area providing the best opportunities for cattle to be looked after in the best possible way during the current conditions in which a lot of country has been under water for weeks.

“I am adamant the system should ensure there are sufficient supplies, including aviation fuel which is the lifeblood of operations such as this, to enable local government, the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and emergency management to deal with the situation as they should.

Mr Cotter said AgForce had a number of staff continually monitoring and communicating with members and local mayors since December and will continue to do so to ensure that any requests are channelled through to appropriate authorities whose role it is to deal with them expeditiously.

“What is coming through loud and clear is that experts situated a thousand miles away giving commentary and advice adds nothing of value in dealing with the challenges and logistics of how this flood situation and recovery should be handled,” Mr Cotter said.

“AgForce will continue to take advice from local producers, mayors and communities on the ground and will work with relevant authorities to ensure their needs and requirements are fully met.

“Animal welfare is a top priority for livestock producers and for anyone to suggest otherwise is uninformed. In a natural disaster of this proportion, leaving roads flooded or impassable across an area the size of South Australia, there are few practical options for intervention against nature.

“The fact remains that this is the best wet season this region has had many long years and locals who have lived and managed this country for decades have learned to live with nature’s vagaries.”

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