The Queensland government has announced that an inquiry will be opened following historic floods in the city of Townsville.
As many as 300,000 cattle have died in the floods and the inquiry will look into the possibility that local authorities underestimated the severity of the rainfall and did not prepare accordingly.
The loss of so many cattle is estimated to come at a cost of around $300 million AUD (£164 million). The mayor of Richmond, John Wharton, described the situation as 'hell'.
According to the Guardian, he said: "This is a disaster. Cattle just couldn't move, the water just kept rising and rising and the water broke its banks.
"There are railway lines washed away, the roads are buggered and there is a lot of cattle gone. They could not survive. It was just hell.
"There are a lot of broken-hearted people. Emotionally, they are not doing real well."
The inquiry will look into the rationale behind the decision to open the Ross River dam floodgates on Sunday night, with vast quantities of flood waters gushing into Townsville and surrounding suburbs in the aftermath.
The premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said what she had witnessed while touring through flood ravaged areas had made her feel 'sick to the stomach'.
Speaking to ABC Radio, she said: "We went along a road with the mayor for about 20 minutes and to the right of me was a sea of dead cattle.
"To see the cattle spread across these yards, not moving... it made you feel sick in the stomach. It's really hard for words to describe it.
"These cattle producers have gone through an extended period of drought and they've come smack bang into a natural disaster."
More than a metre of rain fell in less than a week in Townsville and the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, said the commonwealth would provide an additional $3 million AUD (£1.64 million) towards mental health services in flood affected areas.
According to The Guardian, he said: "It will be a very, very difficult time. And while there are services in towns, those who are out in stations, those who are out dealing on the ground with their stock, who are dying in some of the most horrific circumstances, they will need our support."
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