The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - DAN KNOWLES

QUILPIE in western Queens­land should be the heart of sheep coun­try, but the state’s killer drought means butcher Cameron McCon­nell can’t find any to turn into chops.

In a move akin to the old say­ing of tak­ing coal to Newcastle, Cameron, the third gen­er­a­tion of his fam­ily to be the town butcher, says he has to ship his lamb in from Bris­bane.

He said he and his fam­ily – wife Gina and kids Chelsea, 8, Nate, 5, and lit­tle Alexis, 3 – are do­ing all right, but plenty were hurt­ing.

“We’ve been strug­gling to source fat sheep for slaugh­ter now for months,” Mr McCon­nell said.

“It al­ways used to be sheep coun­try,” Mrs McCon­nell, who helps run the fam­ily butcher shop, said. “They’ve been over­run with wild dogs and roos, who are ob­vi­ously starv­ing them­selves and tak­ing the feed. There’s just not much left for them.”

Mrs McCon­nell said Quilpie was get­ting qui­eter, and Mr McCon­nell said the killer dry was hurt­ing the town.

More than $450,000 has been raised for the state’s strug­gling farm­ers by the Queens­land Drought Ap­peal.

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk kicked off the ap­peal on Thurs­day, with The Courier-Mail and The Sun­day Mail join­ing forces with 7 News, the Ekka and the Queens­land Coun­try Women’s As­so­ci­a­tion to launch the bid to help strug­gling farm­ers.

LAMB RARE: Cameron McCon­nell with wife Gina and Alexis, 3. Pic­ture: Nigel Hal­lett

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