Almost 2,000 cattle have been reunited with their owners by a stock team formed by the NSW Government to help North Coast communities recover from the flood disaster.
Acting Premier Paul Toole said the team has been crucial in the flood recovery effort across the region.
“I met with the team earlier this morning at Lismore Saleyards, and many of the 2,000-plus phone calls they’ve already received on the Agricultural and Animal Services Functional Area (AASFA) hotline are farmers who have either lost stock or have located stock owned by others,” Mr Toole said.
“Like everyone in the Northern Rivers region, farmers have been very heavily impacted by the flooding, and this taskforce is providing practical, on-the-ground support needed right now.
“Some of these farmers have not only lost their homes, but their livelihoods, and that’s why we’re continuing to roll out every resource to help them get back on their feet.
“An important part of the recovery effort involves safely disposing of animals killed in floods, but there were also hundreds of displaced livestock that we needed to get back to their owners.”
Nationals Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said the displaced stock team was a collaboration between local agents, landholders, the Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services who all want to see the best possible outcomes for these animals.
“Our farmers are absolutely dedicated to the care of their animals, and we know how heartbroken many have been to return to their properties to find stock missing,” Mr Saunders said.
“The team is mustering displaced stock and matching them to their owners using stock identification tags.
“If they’re unable to be matched at this point, they are being moved to local saleyards where they are fed, watered and receive veterinary assistance if necessary.
“This process is likely to go on for some time, so we are encouraging the community to keep an eye out for stock, especially in and around cane fields, and to call the AASFA hotline on 1800 814 647.”
Nationals Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said it is very hard to predict where animals will be found, which is why we will have teams in the air and on the ground to ensure we don’t miss a single animal.
“So many farmers across the North Coast and Northern Rivers regions have had to deal with the devastating losses of their animals,” Ms Cooke said.
“Reuniting farmers with their lost livestock is not only a huge emotional boost in the most trying of times, but is also a crucial part of their recovery from this flooding disaster.”