5 September 2019
Don Heatley OAM, Shane Stone and David Galvin in Karumba as the sun set after a long day. Since appointment as Chairman and CEO of the North Queensland Livestock Industry Reconstruction Agency, Shane Stone and Agency staff travelled thousands of kilometres through the flood-impacted area in North West Queensland to meet with those affected by the monsoon of January 2019. In September 2019, 6 months after the event, Shane Stone, Advisory Board members and Agency staff drove over 4,400kms through much of North and North West Queensland. From council meeting rooms to roadhouses, stockyards to kitchen tables, chats on the side of the road and in the coffee shops over a cuppa, people shared their stories of resilience and strength as they got back on their feet following the monsoon trough. All NQLIRA staff were obligated to participate in such visits to farms, cane, aquaculture and horticulture enterprises, the country towns and small businesses impacted. Shane Stone was strongly of the view that Canberra based bureaucrats needed to get dirt under their nails, mud on their boots and travel the vast distances to understand the remoteness and challenges of Northern Australia.