Disaster funding available for storm battered shires

Disaster funding for far north and central west Queensland

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Eight council areas across north and central west Queensland are eligible for disaster relief funding in the wake of recent storms and flooding

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Annie Kidd, with her dogs Maggie and Rossi, at Tabletop Station, in the Croydon Shire, which has received disaster relief funding. Photo: Jane Kidd.

Annie Kidd, with her dogs Maggie and Rossi, at Tabletop Station, in the Croydon Shire, which has received disaster relief funding. Photo: Jane Kidd.

EIGHT council areas across north and central west Queensland are eligible for disaster relief funding in the wake of recent storms and flooding.

The assistance will allow towns to restore roads and other public infrastructure damaged during, and in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Imogen, which crossed the coast near Karumba on Sunday night.

Financial support will be provided to aid recovery in Carpentaria, Croydon, Etheridge and Mornington Shires, though the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

DRFA funding was today extended to include Barcaldine, Blackall-Tambo, and Longreach Regional Councils and Winton Shire Council, with the areas impacted by extreme rainfall leading up to, and continuing throughout, the Christmas period.

Etheridge Shire Council Mayor Barry Hughes said producers were celebrating the wet despite the damage caused.

"The rivers have still got a lot of water draining through, and we've still got road closures across the Etheridge Shire, but there's two sides to Imogen - one is she created a bit of carnage to roadworks and fencing infrastructure, but the country is lapping it up and really smiling," Cr Hughes said.

"You've got to drink the froth to get the beer."

Cr Hughes, who is currently flooded in at his property North Head, at Forsayth, said he was in constant communication with the shire administration but the full extent of the damage was not yet clear.

"We know there is quite considerable damage to station access roads, the Gregory road from Einasleigh to the Oasis has damage and we've had to bring in council crews back over the holidays to do restoration work at the Elizabeth Creek Bridge at Mount Surprise to open the Gulf Development Road."

Cr Hughes said some travellers in the region had got into strife.

"We had one vehicle which has been totally swamped on a swollen river, and we've also had some helicopter evacuations along the Einasleigh catchment as well."

But on the plus side, Cr Hughes said the Charleston Dam was overflowing, which would provide water security for Georgetown and Forsayth, while graziers were welcoming the return of an early wet.

"The country has been putting its hand up for a number of years to get a good drink over the wet season.

"It has only just started and to have this amount kicking about at the start of the wet, despite the collateral damage of Imogen, I think it looks good for the rest of the year in terms of the grazing industry, which is the primary industry in the shire.

"While rain has been ad hoc across the region, it's been very short seasons which has put a lot of pressure on the grazing industry at the back end of the season, and also council's water supplies for our communities, so there's a number of positives right across the board."

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said while the rain was welcome, it could reap havoc on heavily impacted areas.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation across Queensland as the 2020-21 disaster season continues and will work closely with the Commonwealth to support other communities as required," Mr Ryan said.

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