GRAZIERS in disaster declared north west Queensland will be given $5000 per property to help with the cost of disposing cattle which fell victim to the unprecedented flood.
The nation's first carcase disposal plan was released in Richmond yesterday, with local mayors joining representatives of the state and federal government and the Australian Defence Force.
The plan will see graziers from affected shires receive $5000 to put toward carcase burials on their properties, with local contractors favoured to undertake the heartbreaking work.
Local mayors, in consultation with primary producers were pivotal in coming up with the plan, with the ADF enlisted to use their expertise in planning its execution.
Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Linda Reynolds said quickly burying carcases was vital for the health and well-being of those affected.
"The signing of this document is historic in a number of ways, it's the first time as a nation that we've actually needed to come together for a national carcase disposal strategy," Ms Reynolds said.
"Over the last two weeks in the worst of times we've seen the absolute best of Australians.
"Critically, the most important thing has been working with the mayors… who have shown extrodinary local leadership when their own properties were impacted, they came together and spoke with a single voice and told us exactly what the local communities needed.
"We don't know how many head of cattle have been lost but we do know it is in the hundreds of thousands.
"What this strategy is designed to do is quickly, efficiently and safely remove the carcases to remove any emerging health problems here and also getting rid of the carcases so that the graziers here every day don't have to drive past painful reminders of what they've lost."
Councils will use disaster funding they have received from the State Government to pay the landholders for carcase removal.
McKinlay Shire Mayor Belinda Murphy said some property owners would elect to bury the carcases themselves, while others would enlist council contractors or local businesses to undertake the work.
The mayors said the $5000 would go to each affected landholder to use as they see fit, and the payment would be retrospective to cover the costs for those who had already started the carcase removal.
The higher risk areas, where piles of dead cattle are detected will be targeted first. Some carcases remain inaccessible and will for some time.
The carcase disposal plan sign off signals the transition from an initial major disaster response under Joint Task Force 646 and the leadership of Brigadier Stephen Jobson, to a Queensland State Disaster Recovery Coordination effort led by Major-General Stuart Smith (retired).