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Cyclone Trevor flooding prompts fears for thousands of Far North Queensland cattle

By Eric Barker, Tuesday March 26, 2019 - 07:03 EDT
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Louise Price from Strathmay Station, about 100 kilometres east of Pormpuraaw in Cape York, says it could take weeks to calculate the full losses. - ABC

A Cape York grazier has fears thousands of cattle stranded in floodwaters could be dead in the aftermath of Cyclone Trevor.

The cyclone swept through the cape on its way to the Northern Territory early last week, but flooding rains continued to fill the river systems into the weekend.

Louise Price, from Strathmay Station south of Coen, said rapidly rising floodwaters stopped her from removing cattle from paddocks on the Coleman River.

"We have about 2,000 head of breeder cattle in that paddock and they're just unaccounted for," Ms Price said.

"We've been looking for them for two days.

"We've seen some cows but we haven't seen any baby calves on them and we just don't know what to expect at this stage, it's going to be weeks before we know."

Other properties could have losses

Ms Price said she had heard properties downstream could also lose cattle.

"[The neighbour] has cattle in an area there that we flew over looking for him and we couldn't see the stock down there either," she said.

"There's just a few of us down this line from Strathaven down to the coast that are going to feel the effects of this.

"It's going to be weeks before we can recover stock to know what our losses are."

Ms Price said the damage from the floods could be more than $1 million.

"We also not just have the cattle losses here to count for, there's lots of things to count," she said.

"There's stuff around the house and equipment, small tools, stuff for stock, our living arrangements, our roads.

"There's just a lot of work here for a long time, it could years' worth of work."

Race against time for tourist season

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott said many roads were still cut-off by floodwater, which was preventing access to assess the damage.

He said an engineer had flown to Lockhart River to assess the situation.

"The report back from the Mayor up there, Wayne Butcher, is that the roads are in very bad shape, there's trees down everywhere and the jungle has been stripped bare," he said.

Cr Scott said there was a lot of work ahead to have the roads up to scratch for the impending tourist season.

"It was a lot stronger blow that was reported or recorded so there's still a lot of work to do," he said.


© ABC 2019

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