In the bush, which was in the grips of drought, the damage was devastating, including to the national cattle herd.
A couple of weeks earlier, when Federal Parliament met on February 12, he had told the Coalition party room: "We've had floods in northern Australia, in particular in Townsville and we are now witnessing a full-scale national disaster, national disaster, of what is happening in northern Queensland".
"That's government in action, that's government dealing with issues that the Australian people are facing".
"Now, I'm often asked about the issue of declaring a national disaster", the Prime Minister said on Thursday.
Yes, but of course the states are responsible for declaring natural disasters — a term which has a particular bureaucratic meaning for how events are responded to, not to acknowledge as the leader of the country that we are actually facing a national disaster.