Catastrophic Queensland floods killed 600,000 cattle and devastated native species
In February 2019, about 600,000 cattle were killed by catastrophic flooding across north Queensland’s Carpentaria Gulf plains.
The flood waters rose suddenly, forming a wall of water up to 70km wide. Record depths were reached along 500km of the Flinders River, submerging 25,000 square kilometres of country. Cattle were stranded. Many drowned.
Even though cattleman Harry Batt lost 70% of his herd, he was more concerned about the wildlife. He said, “all the kangaroos, and bloody little marsupial mice and birds, they couldn’t handle it”.
Harry was right to be concerned. As our research, published today in Austral Ecology, reveals, floods sweeping Australia’s plains have disrupted native species for millions of years. Now, as climate change drives more intense flooding, we will see this effect intensify…
Time to rethink Australia’s food security
Now that Prime Minister Scott Morrison has finalised his advisory team, he’s apparently planning a series of ‘sleeves up’ sessions on policy development. There are a few topics that he should have his advisers working on. One area of critical importance is the nexus between food security, disaster resilience and the impacts of climate change.
Ensuring a steady and continuous supply of food is vital to Australia’s national security, and in several lucrative overseas markets our food products are a steady export earner. Food security relates to the stable availability of food and individuals’ ability to access it. It relies on the capacity of interconnected social, economic and biophysical systems to meet the nutritional requirements of a growing global population.
In the coming decades climate change will put unprecedented pressure on food supplies, in tandem with (and often exacerbating) ongoing financial, social, political, trade and supply chain vulnerabilities…