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Put Qld farmers before foreign aid:grazier


The Insurance Council of Australia has defended the behaviour of insurers in flood-ravaged Townsville, saying they are doing everything they can to help customers.

Both sides of the Queensland Labor government and LNP opposition have called on insurers to ensure they give claimants a fair go, following media reports that they have turned away residents and businesses affected when a year's rainfall dropped in just days.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad asked the ICA to meet her in flood-devastated Townsville on Friday to see the extent of the flood damage.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan will travel to Townsville on Tuesday, and the ICA will hold two forums to provide claims guidance.

Mr Whelan said assessors have now been on the ground for a week and were doing their best to help all customers, whether or not they had purchased flood cover.

"Where flood cover was not purchased it will typically be tested by the insurer through an independent hydrology process. This will determine if the inundation that caused the damage is to be classified as flood water or as storm water," he said.

As of Sunday, insurers had received 13,560 claims from Townsville, with losses estimated at $165 million.

The financial hit to farmers in the state's north-west and the industry more broadly may not be known for weeks but it's expected to top $300 million.

Jane McMillan, who lost almost half her cattle in the floods at Cloncurry, has called on Australian governments to give farmers more financial support before spending money on foreign aid.

"We need to support our own. We need to walk out a system where we support our own first and then we look at foreign aid," she told Seven Network on Monday.

"For years now, we have neglected rural and remote Australia and we spent thousands of dollars on the east coast in our major cities on hospitals and schools and roads and rail, but [not] in outback Australia."

Rural properties remain underwater and graziers continue to search for their surviving cattle in order to feed them.

The army is helping out with food drops and cleanups but the heavy stock losses are taking their toll.

Federal MP Bob Katter says he will call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take urgent action when he is in Canberra later this week.

© AAP 2019

Image Credit: AAP Image/Dan Peled