$1m state relief fund an 'insult'

CONTRIBUTING just $1 million to the disaster relief fund is an insult to rural families and primary producers across the state, according to a prominent Emerald grazier.

Living on the Nogoa River, Leon Clothier has kept one eye on the river levels and an ear to the radio for the past few weeks.

As town residents were being evacuated from Emerald, Mr Clothier entered the river with a “mouthful of nails, a hammer, measuring tape and shorts” on to get the latest river levels, which he said are now 5.8 metres above the top of Fairbairn Dam, exceeding the 2008 floods by 1.3 metres thus far.

He said the announcement yesterday that Premier Anna Bligh’s office had contributed a mere $1 million to the disaster relief effort “disgusted producers”, and came as a slap in the face after former Prime Minister Rudd donated $75 million to Pakistan for their flood relief efforts.

Mr Clothier was not alone in his view that the state and federal government’s contributions, each of $1 million, was pitiful when considering his son-in-law had already lost more than $1 million worth of cotton.

Such stories were not a rarity, Mr Clothier said, but more like the norm.

He said: “I’ve spoken to one of our neighbours, and he said he had seen dead cattle coming down the river, and while I haven’t lost any cattle, there is a lot of flooding.

“There are plenty more people out there doing it tougher than me.”

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