Massive livestock loss in Queensland floods

Receding floodwaters after Queensland's once-in-a-century monsoonal deluge has left authorities scratching their heads about how to dispose of hundreds of thousands of dead animals.

Queensland Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner won't say how much livestock in the state's northwest has been lost but warned people to take precautions when coming into contact with carcasses.

The state government is working with the defence force to figure out how to dispose of the beasts and minimise the risk of bacterial infections and other health risks, he told reporters on Tuesday.

The clean-up in Townsville is already well under way.

Officials have deemed 1800 homes of 6800 assessed so far damaged, as an appeal to raise funds for people affected climbed to $3.6 million.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad will meet insurance firms and the Insurance Council of Australia on Friday to discuss recovery efforts.

"The emotional and mental wellbeing of communities is of critical importance and the rapid assessment of insurance claims will be a vital part of recovery," she told state parliament on Tuesday.

"We are calling on insurance companies to be fair and compassionate."

As of Tuesday, insurers had received 14,600 claims from people living there, with losses estimated at $175 million.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk shut down questions from the opposition about the decision to open the Ross River Dam floodgates.

Thousands of homes were flooded in what officials said was a move to prevent an even greater number of properties being submerged.

Ms Palaszczuk says the dam belongs to the Townsville Shire Council and that the council acted on advice from various government agencies.

It comes amid concerns from exhausted graziers about how they will make loan repayments when banks come knocking in the coming months.

The full financial impact to farmers may not be known for weeks but it's expected to be hundreds of millions of dollars.

The federal government has said it will provide an immediate ex-gratia payment of $1 million to affected shires.

 

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