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Country Hour's western road trip

Craig Zonca, Kathleen Calderwood, Lydia Burton, Tuesday March 4, 2014 - 10:36 EDT
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Craig Zonca and the Country Hour team on the road - ABC

Landholders in the SW of Queensland are suffering the impacts of one of the worst droughts on record. Bob Morrish whose property is 80 kilometres from Windorah, says they have had 80mm of rain over the past week, which has brought some relief, but it is not drought breaking.

He says the drought has taken a terrible toll.

"It's been nothing short of a bloody nightmare", he said

The drought is so widespread, he has not been able to get agistment for stock, and reckons he has lost a third of his cattle, he has to either shoot them or let them die in the paddock.

He says the financial drought has also taken a toll and he can no longer be bothered to fight the season or the banks.

Bec Smith says they have also lost around a third of their herd, but she is trying to take a glass half full approach.

James Kidd says anyone who has lost just ten per cent of their herd is doing well, but everyone is in the same boat.

In Windorah the conversation turned to the natural values of the area.

Mr Morrish is also the Chairman of the Coopers Creek Protection Group, he says it's vitally important that the Cooper Creek catchment doesn't lose its Wild Rivers declaration.

"The current Newman Government proposes to revoke these declarations and we can only ask ourselves 'who will gain from that?'

"It can only be probably the big mining and resource companies."

He says many in the area are passionate about protecting the local waterways and they breathed a sigh of relief when the Wild Rivers declaration was given to the catchment.

"The Wild Rivers declaration didn't entirely stop mining or resource exploration or resource production at all, they just protected the sensitive waterholes, wetlands and creek channels and flood plains.

"By revoking those declarations, this Government will be throwing all those areas open to exploration and production and if so there are huge risks of pollution of the waterways, of the wetlands.

"In fact there is potential to destroy the Channel Country as we know it."


© ABC 2014

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