News

Crippling blow to industry

THE North Burnett suffered a crippling blow in the January floods, with the raging rivers inundating farms, homes and businesses, destroying infrastructure and isolating towns and properties for days and, in some cases, weeks.

North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh said more than $110 million of damage had been caused to council infrastructure but the cost to private property was far greater.

"The farmers are probably having more trouble than anyone," Cr Waugh said.

"While they're getting back into production, they're still have that massive loss that they need to make up and that's not really easy."

Cr Waugh said the extensive damage was enough for some people to quit the farming industry but for those who remained, their work was cut out for them.

"There are a couple who found they couldn't keep going and there's a couple who had an auction and got out of the industry," he said.

"It's not good for our region, it's not good for our state and it's not good for the country as a whole."

Cr Waugh said one of the worst-affected industries was dairy, with some farms completely washed away.

"The ones adjacent to the river lost a lot of equipment and cattle but they are back in production," he said.

"Most weren't able to get a milk pick-up for a considerable amount of time and some cows didn't recover - some got mastitis so bad they had to be sent to the meatworks."

The massive citrus industry is slowly on the mend with the imperial season just finishing and the murcott season now beginning.

"Most lost crops all together and some were damaged to such a degree that the produce wasn't accepted as top quality so they lost money," Cr Waugh said.

"While the quality of the fruit was still excellent it had marks on the skin.

"The fruit it still sweet underneath and they're trying to get that message across."

Cr Waugh said the tourism operators, especially the accommodation providers, had copped a lot of damage with many inundated by water.

"I think the accommodation industry suffered dramatically," he said.

"They had to start from scratch. These people have such resilience and it's wonderful to see them back up and running."

In the wider community, Cr Waugh said life was getting back to normal with the familiarity of the region's annual shows playing a role.

"In the general community one of the big things that got them up and running again is people really seemed to rally around the fact their local show was coming up and they started doing things they would have done in the past," the mayor said.

"It was a big factor in convincing people that things can be normal again.

"I really compliment the various show societies for making that happen."

Topics:  north burnett



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