Speaking in Julia Creek on Friday Prime Minister Scott Morrison has brought a message of hope to North West Queensland communities affected by devastating floods that may have wiped out half a million cattle.
"My government working with everyone else will rebuild the cattle industry and it is going to be an area of great opportunity and prosperity in the future but we need to get back to that starting line," Mr Morrison said.
"We have been knocked off our feet here as a region but we will get back up together and we will do everything necessary to help people."
While there were no concrete new announcements, Mr Morrison's presence alone in Cloncurry and Julia Creek brought renewed hope to communities still coping with the massive losses.
The PM had already given $1 million to each affected shire and offered Category D assistance up to $75,000 to affected producers, $25,000 for businesses affected, and expedited paperwork, but this trip was about finding out what needed to be done next.
Mr Morrison flew into Cloncurry Thursday and met locals at the Bowls Club, more meeting others at a community barbecue at the airport on Friday then taking an army helicopter to Julia Creek to meet more locals and inspect some of the flood damage.
Speaking near the badly damaged Flinders Highway and the equally damaged Townsville-Mount Isa rail line while dozens of dead cattle still lined the nearby paddocks, Mr Morrison said it was a scene of a genuine national disaster.
"This is my number one priority and pressing now as the events unfolded in such a short period of time and I'd ask all Australians to be mindful of the level of shock in these communities," Mr Morrison said.
"Right now the need is to deal with the immediate response which will very much much be guided by the local mayors and I want to commend them for their leadership - they have been under enormous pressure dealing with the impact to their own families as well as what is happening more broadly."
The Prime Minister said there was a long road ahead beyond the immediate response.
"We've got to rebuild a lot of critical infrastructure in all of these towns and link up their economy," he said.
"In five to 10 years this will again be one of the most prosperous regions in the country - this is the top of the supply chain for our cattle industry."
McKinlay Mayor Belinda Murphy said they were delighted to have the PM there.
"As confronting as it, it is important to see what is on the ground and we are looking forward to the discussions moving forward and very happy with where they are going at the moment," Cr Murphy said.
"This is about the survival of our communities in the North West and I think that is clearly understood from the top down."
Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell said their foremost need was for graziers to contact council and tell them what they needed.
"That will help us understand the quantum, the resources we need, the volunteers, the materials, the machinery," Cr Campbell said.
"The second step is to work through the details of the million dollars that gets us through the short term while the PM and his people work out what a senisble, structured, long-term solution is."
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