13 March 2019
From 25 January 2019 to 14 February 2019 a monsoon trough over North and North West Queensland delivered 12 days of continuous, heavy rain, smashing rainfall records. It created a body of water more than 15,000 square kilometres, over 700 kilometres in length and travelling at speed. Widespread livestock losses in the hundreds of thousands and property damage from the NT border to Townsville were reported in an area larger than the size of Victoria. The North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency (NQLIRA) was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 1 March 2019 to assist with the immediate response, recovery and reconstruction efforts. Shane Stone was appointed Chairman & CEO of the Agency. The Agency hit the ground running meeting with local stakeholders. Shane L Stone and Advisory Board member Mrs Tracey Hayes participating in the first NQLIRA press conference. The 'presser' was held at the Townsville Abbatoir operated by JBS. Townsville is JBS Australia's second-largest processing facility, employing 508 people to achieve a processing capacity of 1,800 beef cattle per day. Opened in 1966, the Townsville facility is a grass-fed beef plant. The plant sources cattle from the Northern Territory and Northern and Central Queensland. This location for the 'presser' was selected to highlight the social utility of the livestock industry to the region and the Australian economy.