Providing a sense of the scale, as well as of how sparsely populated this part of Australia is, is this excerpt from the NYT story:
Officials say half of Queensland's 715,305 square miles (1,852,642 square kilometers) is affected by the relentless flooding, which began last week after days of pounding rain caused swollen rivers to overflow. The flood zone covers an area larger than France and Germany combined and bigger than the state of Texas.It's not clear that just 200,000 people live in an area bigger than the state of Texas, but if that's the entire population of half of Queensland, that is sparse indeed.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured the area today, announcing relief payments of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child. She also pledged $1 million in federal aid to match a relief fund set up by the State of Queensland.