RAAF coordinates mass clean-up of 300,000 animals

RAAF coordinates carcass clean up across Queensland's North West


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WORK: Cloncurry Shire Council mayor Greg Campbell and Brigadier Stephen Jobson commander of the Joint Task Force 646 plan for a carcass clean up around Cloncurry. Photo: Samantha Walton.

WORK: Cloncurry Shire Council mayor Greg Campbell and Brigadier Stephen Jobson commander of the Joint Task Force 646 plan for a carcass clean up around Cloncurry. Photo: Samantha Walton.

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High-tech aviation equipment is being drafted in to help with the task of burying 300,000 head of cattle.

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The Royal Australian Air Force has sourced a hi tech surveillance aircraft to assess high density carcass areas around the North West, as the clean up of dead cattle continues.

The plane can fly over the paddock and detect dead carcasses so crews can then react on the ground.

With over 300,000 dead cattle to deal with, the plane will help with planning between local councils and an army Joint Task Force to coordinate technical advice and cattle carcass disposal.

Joint Task Force 646 is a component of a whole of government response to the natural disaster that has occurred in North West Queensland. 

Brigadier Stephen Jobson commander of the Joint Task Force 646 said the large aviation actions for fuel and fodder drops was expected to be completed by Friday February 15 and they were now putting together a strategic master plan for carcass clean up.

"That will allow local governments to confidently move forward into priorities, mobilising resources, to be able to dispose of that cattle effectively and efficiently," Cmdr Jobson said.

"The carcass planning will be intense. It will go across the next four days, followed by a two day period to consult and make sure those plans are correct and they will then be released."

While the plan is being devised, the RAAF is supporting graziers disposing of dead carcasses.

"We are doing a number of things to support them; firstly we have obtained technical advice from various departments of Queensland state government and federal government and put that into fact sheets to supply to local councils and onto their constituents," Cmdr Jobson said.

"We are also looking at bringing personal protective equipment into the local government areas from as far as Townsville or Brisbane with the use of Royal Australian Air Force aircrafts to deliver into Cloncurry, Julia Creek and Richmond airports and make sure it is distributed to Winton and other affected areas."

When asked if the RAAF would assist with disposal of carcasses Cmdr Jobson said local people and equipment was the most appropriate way forward.

"Task Force 646 is moving into specialist technical advice and planning assistance and the advice we are receiving from local governments, is that planning and implementing a plan to resource local people, local equipment is the most appropriate way forward.

"So we are leading a small team to coordinate the specialist advice not just from defence but engineers environmentalists, vets and public affairs.

"We expect the removal of those carcasses in high visibility areas will address public safety, health and public morale."

North West Star

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