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7.30 Report -

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Leigh Sales meets some of the Brisbane families affected by the flood crisis in Queensland.



Friday 21st January 2011

Story 1 - Community Forum

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Hello, I'm Leigh Sales in Brisbane. Welcome to this ABC news special. As
you can see behind me the floods clean up is continuing here and tonight we'll be looking at how
one community is managing in the aftermath.

A week ago, this is what Graceville looked like. It's on the banks of the river in Brisbane's
western suburbs and it's one of the city's worst affected areas. Hundreds of homes below the flood
line were partially or completely swamped last Thursday, affecting thousands of people. A lot of
residents here lived through the 1974 Brisbane floods as well.

As in so many neighbourhoods, the water had barely peaked before the community was quickly pulling
together to clean up.

CRAIG LYON, RESIDENT: There's people here that I don't know but I'm so grateful for. Coming in,
giving us a hand.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: An impromptu operations centre sprang up at Graceville State School, and
it's here that we've brought together a group of local residents tonight to tell us how they're
faring a week after the devastation.

(to gathered group)

Hello and welcome to all of you here.

Let's start with Craig and Heidi Lyon. We saw you in that introduction starting the clean up in
your place last week. How are you faring a week on?

CRAIG LYON: Good. Very good. It's all starting to come back to normal and we're just rebuilding. So
we're working really hard and we've had a lot of help.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: We saw the underneath of your house that had been basically, you'd
renovated it and it had been completely gutted. What about that? What have you been able to do in
there so far?

HEIDI LYON, RESIDENT: We've just emptied it out. All the, all the, everything that was under there
is gone and we're just ripping down walls and it's just bare, bare now.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: So clean slate from which to start.

HEIDI LYON: Yeah, clean slate.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: And your Mum's been flooded too Heidi?

HEIDI LYON: Yeah she... her place went to the second level and she lost most of her stuff but, um,
we'll rebuild and...

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: It's been a rough time for your family because, Craig, your sister Julie as
well has had her business flooded.

(to Julie) You own the local hair-dressing salon.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: So tell us what's happened there.

JULIE LYON: Well basically we had about 60cm of water through the shop. I managed to get all my
stock and chairs and that out so we fared really well compared to the other shops that were there.
There's 13 shops in the whole centre so...

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Can't work out of there at the moment.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: And how long do you think it will be before you can go back there?

JULIE LYON: Maybe three or four weeks.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Have you had volunteers coming in and helping you to clean up - the sort of
stuff we've seen on the news?

JULIE LYON: Yes. Very lucky. I've had friends come and help so it was good.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Elizabeth and Anthony Marx, you've had water to one metre above your second
floor. Do you feel like you're getting the help that you need?

ELIZABETH MARX, RESIDENT: Oh, we're getting an amazing amount of help. I mean, we've had friends,
every friend we know in Brisbane come over to the house. We've had volunteers, we've come here to
the Graceville State School and asked for volunteers and people have come. We've, it's, we've been
overwhelmed with the amount of help we've had, yeah.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: And you were away at the time.

ANTHONY MARX, RESIDENT: We were. We were in far western Tasmania out of mobile phone range. We
didn't even have a TV where we were staying. When we got into Strahan we just went to the high
street, had a coffee. I picked up the paper and, but, was just blown away by what was happening in

Went out to a payphone, called our neighbours. They said the water was already devouring our first
floor. Luckily we have some great people living next door to us who moved our cars, they got out
some of our photos and key documents.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: They had the keys to your house?

ANTHONY MARX: They had the keys to our house because they were getting the mail and papers, the
usual thing, and they've been great friends going through this with us now. As we are borrowing
tools, we're helping each other, sharing advice. It's been... we feel like we've been lifted up by
the people around us that are helping and it... friends and also total strangers have just been
amazingly, they've been great.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: And given how swamped your house was, how much progress have you been able
to make in that week?

ANTHONY MARX: Well, the big thing we're focussing on now is just making sure we've ripped out all
the gyprock. Anything that was sodden we're going to pull that out. I've even found, even today, a
week later, a few little nooks and crannies where it's still there.

We've got to pull that out 'cause we've got to make sure we get all the mud out from behind it and
once the mud is cleaned off then we've got to spray disinfectant to stop the mould so it's just,
there's so many steps and tomorrow we're expecting a whole army of people to come and help us, just
descend on these jobs. I've got a list of jobs I'm ready to hand out to people tomorrow morning.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: And David and Anne Kuskopf what about you guys? How are you faring a week

DAVID KUSKOPF: Yeah, we're going really well. We've been able to rip all the gyprock out of the
wall. It came up to our top level so our bottom level is totally bare at this stage but we've had,
and we've got to that with all the help from people. We had, on Friday... we started cleaning up
Thursday afternoon when the floodwaters were still up in the house and start up on our top level.
And Friday we had 50 people through who we all knew.

We had another 40 through on Saturday and Sunday was the first day we used the volunteers to help
pull out the gyprock and we probably had more than 50 people through. So it's quite amazing. It's
amazing how much you can get through. But each time you go back to the house it is quite

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Does it feel like you're starting again every time you go through or can
you see that you're making progress as you go?

DAVID KUSKOPF: I think every time that you walk in it's like you're starting again. I heard the
word rebuild used before and every time I talk to someone I say, "what are you going to do?" and
it's like, "when we rebuild" and it's like starting from scratch.

Although the house is still there, it's just the internals that are gone, it's a rebuild. That's
the word we use.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Everyone's talked so far about the amount of help that you've been having
to get back on your feet and Karen Symons, I know you don't want to be turned into a hero, but
you've been one of the people in this neighbourhood who has been trying to help coordinate
assistance for people. You've turned your home into a bit of a base. Tell us a little bit about
what you're doing from your place.

KAREN SIMONS, RESIDENT: I think like so many others who were fortunate enough to not be affected by
flood waters, I woke up one morning and thought I need to find a way that I could contribute
positively and try and help others who are less fortunate and so I opened a restaurant.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: In your kitchen (laughing). Did you have power?

KAREN SIMONS: It was access all areas and it was outstanding the number of people that walked
through my door. There was no "I" about that equation. It was just an amazing show of community.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: I know a lot of this neighbourhood has not had power. Did you have power at
your place?


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: So how were you actually managing?

KAREN SIMONS: It's very tricky. Fortunately sandwiches don't need power and sausages are great on
the barbecue so we just worked with what we had and during the day it was fine. But during the
night we just did candle light dinners. So, you know, it was fine.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Were the people who have been coming in to help out there, people from this
neighbourhood or from further afield?

KAREN SIMONS: I couldn't call any of them my friends because my friends were the ones that were
affected. In fact I feel a little bit guilty that I wasn't in their houses helping them but after
the first couple of days I saw there was a need and we had thousands of people coming into the area
to support those who were desperate and they had to be fed and they had to be hydrated. And there
was nothing there for them.

The suburb was grid locked. There wasn't shops not operating, there was no food left. So it was
time to find that for people and that's what we aimed to do with a lot of help.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Clayton you've been helping your Mum out a bit?


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: What have you been doing?

CLAYTON SIMONS: I couldn't obviously cook the food so...

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Oh, I think you could have given it a red hot go my boy!

CLAYTON SIMONS: I try my best but it wouldn't be great.

My job was to deliver the food to the community.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Right. How were you doing that?

CLAYTON SYMONS: We had a gentleman down the road, whose house was actually affected by the flood
also, was kind enough to donate his ute so we went on the back of that around the community.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Very good. So how many of you here then, just a quick show of hands, have
been helped out by people who you've never met before, complete strangers?

(group puts up hands)

Wow, so just about everybody.

James Berry, you've actually been taken in by strangers.

JAMES BERRY, RESIDENT: On the Wednesday when the waters were coming up, we eventually made the
decision that we had to leave the house and we went out the back and bumped into, well, we didn't
have any idea where we would go, and we bumped into an absolute wonderful lady who, when we asked
if she knew there might be a local evacuation centre, she said, "Come and live with us."

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Open ended like that?



JAMES BERRY: So we just can't thank Sharon and Lance enough.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Do you know how long you will be there?

JAMES BERRY: Oh, no, we've already moved back into our place. We were very fortunate. We only had a
foot of water over the boards.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Very good. So friends for life there, I guess.

JAMES BERRY: Yeah. It's amazing how in one week you've made relationships with people that it would
have taken years otherwise.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Wayne Penning, you're the President of the P and C here and you've
coordinated the Graceville flood response group. It's not like you're not all experts in disaster
relief. How is it that things have been able to move along so punctually here?

WAYNE PENNING, PRESIDENT, GRACEVILLE P AND C: Well basically on Thursday morning we realised that
it was a significant event and it needed a significant response. So following a conversation with a
couple of the key P and C executive people and speaking to Ian, we knew we had to mobilise to try
and get traction on the clean up.

So speaking with people who had key expertise across project management, some engineers, other
people that had SES experience and so forth, we formulated a plan, and particularly we wanted to
let people know that we had mobilised and that we were able to help.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: And Richard Newsome, you were involved with that response as well and with
the P and C. I understand that the model for the school fete and organising that helped actually in
terms of organising things.

RICHARD NEWSOME, GRACEVILLE P AND C: Yeah, who would have thought expertise in lamingtons would
actually help (laughter) with flood relief?

It's true. We basically used the structure that we had for the school fete, which is a very big
community event here every August and changed, you know, stall holders to key street
representatives. People in charge of rides were now going to be in charge of equipment.

And we just had five key areas of responsibility, we very quickly filled those boxes with names.
There was a meeting here in the hall a week ago today, 500-600 people up looking for help and by
Saturday we had the first clean up teams out on the streets.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: So that's maybe good advice for people around the country, say, in Victoria
at the moment who are facing floods. Look at big scale things you've had to organise in your
community and see if you can apply that.

RICHARD NEWSOME: Well that's right and I think we're also very fortunate in that there are a lot of
people in the area who weren't affected by the floods and they were very willing workers but they
were just looking for direction. So we were able to provide that sort of coordination role and
actually get them out and be as productive as possible.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: What about the actual official response?

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bond, how big an assignment has this been for the military?

MICHAEL BOND, LIEUTENANT COLONEL: We have over 1,900 personnel deployed on this operation - Army,
Navy, Air Force as part of the joint task force. Only outnumbered of course by that other army
we've discovered in Brisbane, the volunteer army that we've been talking about.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Steve Smith and Wendy Fisher, tell us a little bit about your experience.
You'd just finished some pretty extensive renovations at your place one day and then the next day
it's flooded?

STEVE SMITH, RESIDENT: Yes, we were just primarily signing off on the last of the renovations and
the flood hit. And so that was quite devastating to have the house of our dreams just about
finished and then see it all go under. But...

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Did it all go under?

STEVE SMITH: About half a metre from the top storey, yes.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: How much progress have you been able to make in the past week or so?

STEVE SMITH: Well with the help of literally hundreds of volunteers we made a big progress. We've
stripped out the top, any panel, gyprock that needs to come out we've got it out and cleaned out
the bottom as well.

We've been able to hose around the gurney around the house and the fence, clean up around the
outside. Look, we had just, people from the neighbouring street, the neighbouring block, the
neighbouring cities come and help us.

We had 25-30 people there Saturday and Sunday and just yesterday we had three people come up from
Mullumbimby, northern NSW, and they said they wanted to make a difference to one house for the day
and those sort of people have been turning up all week. It's just been fantastic.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: You're waiting for insurance assessors to come, are you?

STEVE SMITH: That's right.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Any idea where that will be happening?

STEVE SMITH: We've rung a few times now and they've just said "don't call us, we will call you".

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Do you know what sort of cover you've got? I know a lot of people are a bit
confused about exactly what's covered.

STEVE SMITH: We're not covered for flood, per se, but we are covered for storm water runoff within
24 hours from a rain event and we're hoping we might get some coverage from that.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Are there other people here, just put your hands up, if you're not sure
what you're covered for or you haven't heard from your insurance company yet? What is your story
here, Tony?

TONY: I've made an application, put in a claim in for the damage that I thought would happen. The
comment that I got back from the insurer was, if the storm water came up from the drains onto the
property they would look favourably on it and possibly pay. And if the water came off from the
river, they wouldn't be paying anything.

So they've made it reasonably clear at the outset that I'm at their mercy you might say just to get
a decision.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Can you actually start the clean up to the extent you would like to without
having that information?

TONY: I've sort of chosen to get on with it rather than just wait. I've worked on the basis that
we're not going to get anything. And I've got to make my own way. And fix it.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: David and Anne, you put your hand up about the insurance. What is the
situation for you guys?

DAVID: We're the same as the other people here. We don't know. I've lodged a claim and they have
said they will get an assessor out. I spoke to our insurer on Tuesday, which was the first chance I
had to get to a phone and do something. We really just wait. We've got to go on, we can't wait
forever so we've decided to just go forward with what we have got to do.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: So have you got, if it's not too personal a question, have you got the
resources that allows you to do that because the level of damage you're talking about is pretty

DAVID: We're really lucky because we can afford to just do the rebuild and move on with life. In
six months or 12 months, life for us in a lot of us in a lot of ways returns to normal and we'll do
it quite quickly. But I know there's a lot of people in the area that will suffer for a long, long

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Elizabeth and Anthony, what about you guys with the insurance? Do you know
what your situation is?

ANTHONY: When I leave here I'm going to be talking to a hydrologist this afternoon and we're having
an assessor coming tomorrow. I have looked at our policy, I think we might be able to get a little
something out of it but nowhere near what we're going to need to rebuild.

I've been telling people that as far as I was concerned our insurance policy was years of drought
and combined with the Wivenhoe Dam, the promises made when that was built that there would never be
a repeat of the 1974 flood disaster.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Let me play devil's advocate on behalf of the insurance companies because
the Insurance Council has been out saying well people should know what they're covered for and not
expect that we have to cough up in the event of a disaster. What do you say to that?

ANTHONY: That is a hard this one. I mean, I think a lot of people, certainly people I've talked to
in our neighbourhood did not have cover, the majority did not, precisely because they believed that
the Wivenhoe Dam would protect the city. And that we wouldn't have to go through this kind of
nightmare again.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: I'll come back to the dam shortly. I just wanted to ask Lorris Ridgewell,
you guys have been waiting for insurance assessors as well and your husband is at home now I think.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: With the assessor. You will have to keep an eye on the phone and see if
there's a text message or something. Do you guys know what you're covered for? You're still waiting
to see?

LORRIS RIDGEWELL: We think we're fully covered.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: How has it impacted you over the past week waiting to get that information?

LORIS RIDGEWELL: It's been really hard. I know my husband's not coped very well with that.
Everything else has been fine, all the hard work and everything but just waiting for that to happen
has been pretty tough.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: I know a lot of you here have got kids and school resumes next week and so
they have to go back to school after all of this.

Ian Hall is the principal here at Graceville State School where we are. How much impact is this
going to have had on kids who come to Graceville State School and what sort of plans have you got
in place to deal with that next week?

IAN HALL, GRACEVILLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: We believe we've got close to 200 families who have been
directly affected by the flood. So that is going to be 40 to 50 per cent of the students returning
on Monday.

So we've set up places already for parents to come and talk and we've had lucky that Kate and the P
and C have been working hard to set up support networks.

Education Queensland has lined up guidance officers and extra people to be here for students. But
the most important thing for us is, we're talk about getting things back on an even keel, kids turn
up on Monday, they're going to be doing reading, writing and maths.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: There might be some kids hoping they won't be doing that on Monday.

IAN HALL: Bad luck!

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Chris Chicotto, you're with Lifeline and you've been helping with the
community response up here. What advice do you give people for dealing with children who have been
through this?

CHRIS CHICOTTO, LIFELINE WORKER: I think the fact that children at this school are doing reading,
writing, and maths on Monday is an excellent thing because really in the event of a crisis like
this, having children get back into routines is really important thing. So that is the key.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: That's the key. Routine, just get the routine going again.

Greg Goebel from the Red Cross, it's not just kids of course but it's also adults who have been
through this. What about for them, what is your advice in terms of, you know, they can get help
physically getting back on their feet. What about psychologically?

GREG GOEBEL, RED CROSS WORKER: We know that this is a fairly distressing event. For most people in
three months time they will have dealt with that and they deal with that by talking to a lot of
people, sharing particularly with family and friends.

The people who don't have those broader connections, they're the ones that you start to worry about
and they're the ones that really need help.

I think we're, you know, humans are pretty resilient and we learn from these sorts of things. I
think the strongest thing is ask for help, deal with family and friends, but importantly learn what
connections are out there that will support you in the decision making because personal decision
making is the best way out of these sort of crises.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Is there any way of knowing, okay, after a particular period of time I
should be feeling a bit better because I imagine there's days for people at the moment when the
thought of having to get out of bed and go and start cleaning your place again must be just
overwhelming. How long does that last?

GREG GOEBEL: In a sense the activity is part of the recovery process. We certainly know from
Cyclone Larry and from the Victorian bushfires that people go through a three month period, a six
month people, for some people it's a 12 month period.

So they don't really get over that crisis until the ordinariness of life gets into a routine and
that varies from people to people. But certainly there are going to be a percentage of the people,
and some of the experts say about 10 to 15 per cent, that will exacerbate mental illness and that
requires, really, specialist help.


The Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, as we know, has announced an official inquiry into this. What
would you like to see come out of that, just anybody?

RESIDENT: I think there's been some very legitimate questions that have been raised about the
management of the Wivenhoe Dam. I think that needs to be looked at.

I know our neighbour told us that I think it was just before the flood peak or before the water
started to rise that someone from the council walked through, very nonchalantly, and said just to
expect partial flooding and the words he used was partial flooding and there wasn't, from what he
tells me, there wasn't really a sense of urgency.

So I think those are some of the things that I would like to see addressed in an inquiry.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: David, I know you bought thinking that Wivenhoe Dam had solved that

DAVID: Yes, we had friends in the area before we moved here and they lived through the '74 flood.
They all said with Wivenhoe, which is four times the size of Somerset, that it won't happen again.

We hear that through the media and all through our eight years here that was the line we were told
and we believed that and I pushed the line forward and it was really the Tuesday and the Wednesday
when the real problems started to occur you could, I think by watching the TV, you could see the
panic this was in people's voices about it.

And we were just left in a lot of ways with the opening of the gates, which we know they had to do,
we were just left to drown.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: So you want more detail about that, whether things should have moved

DAVID: I think so. I think they will have to find something to do. They can't go through an event
like this and think that that just happens. You have to make changes. I think with Wivenhoe being
what protects Brisbane, they've got to make changes to the policies that they had in place last

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: And I am just wondering if every wet season now people will be wondering is
this the one? Anne?

ANNE: I think a lot of people have, you know, been thinking that Wivenhoe would manage it all and I
guess there just needs to be some sort of a response to it and, you know, whether or not... I guess
there's a lot of panic because of the recent droughts that we have had and this seems to have been
we have to keep Wivenhoe at 100 per cent, it has to be there. Maybe they look at dropping the level
of the dam prior to the wet season. I don't know. But there certainly needs to be some sort of a
response to this because clearly it can happen and it has happened and we can't say the perfect
storm is not going to happen again.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: If the Government offered to buy up your property and you could move away,
is there anyone here that would accept that? Would you guys accept that Craig?

CRAIG: Certainly not. Good community, good people, good area. We can't complain where we live.
We've had one event. We've got to move one. We've got to build. I never thought it would flood but
it did happen.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: So you rebuild, take your chances and hope something comes out of the
inquiry so it doesn't happen again.

CRAIG: And we're going to learn from our mistakes. If somebody has made a mistake further up the
chain, they are going to learn.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Elizabeth, what about you? If the Government said alright we will buy you
out, move away, would you be interested?

ELIZABETH: Yeah, you know, at this point I know it's early days but I don't feel like I can go back
to my house. I don't want to leave the area, I just want to move to higher ground in the area!

I'd take the money and buy a house higher up.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Buy something else. I think everyone would probably take that option.

Steve and Wendy, what about you? Do you want to stay the area?

WENDY: Yeah, we, um, I've grown up in the area. I lived in my Mum and Dad in Tennyson. I'm, what,
52 now. I went through the '74 flood with my Mum and Dad and we went round in a little dinghy that
my Dad built and we helped people out.

Five or six years ago I was living back in my family home with my husband and children, and we had
a fire and burnt the house to the ground. Five years ago. And we lost everything.

And still after all of that we wanted to stay in the area. We didn't want to shift.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: So you still feel that having lost everything now twice you still feel the

WENDY: My husband says the only thing left is a famine!

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: God forbid we'd have that in Australia!

All around Australia people are going to be watching this - politicians and business leaders an
people who are actually in positions of power who can do things to help. So let me ask you is there
anything in particular that you need here right now that you'd like to see?


TONY: We've actually got everything, I think. You know, we've got the spirit, the volunteers, the
council who are coming through and helping, all we now need is time and some sort of reassurance
that it won't happen again.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Anybody else? Any ideas for what you'd need?

Karen you've been very plugged into the community. What do you think people need?

KAREN: I think the fear for me is that if you drive around the neighbourhood now and you weren't
here last week, it probably wouldn't seem that bad because the houses are all gurneyed down, the
streets are cleaned.

But when you walk from house to house and you go inside you realise that the outside belies what is
inside. They're empty, the walls are taken out, and my fear is that people will forget that people
are struggling, they're displaced. They need furniture, they need clothes, they need all of those
things that make life normal again.

And I am confident this community will provide that. I've seen enormous acts of generosity in the
past week through what I've done and what people who have helped me have done and I know that will
continue but I'd just like people to be reminded of that and do what they can to offer those sorts
of items that you don't need, that are sitting around your house that could help somebody - a TV, a
table, a chair, kids clothing, toys, all those things you don't think about that are no longer
there for many people.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Wayne, you're very plugged in with lots of people in the community as well.
What do you think people need?

WAYNE: The remobilisation has already started. I had a meeting at 8 o'clock this morning with some
key people in the community and they've already put together a plan about how we can immediately
help the Graceville State School community and I've received a lot of interest with respect to what
can be donated.

In that regard we've already coordinated some needs analysis and I've been inundated with a range
of support in relation to both equipment and also financial support. So to those of you that have
been affected, what I would say is there's a further swell of people that are here and they're
committed to assist and to basically help the wonderful people that are in this community.

Just to that point I would like to take the opportunity to thank not only the volunteers within the
community that helped with such a phenomenal effort but also those outside the community. The
council did a wonderful job of mobilising thousands of people to drop them across on the oval,
which we all linked in and combined with the Army.

So it has been a galvanising experience and I think in terms when we talk about learning from
things I guess it's important to that galvanisation and we will continue to rebuild.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: I mentioned the Victorian floods before and we know there's people down
there going through maybe what you're going through right now. Have you got any advice for them,
Craig and Heidi?

CRAIG: I haven't seen TV for a while!

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: You don't need to. You've had it firsthand.

CRAIG: Just got power on this morning...

HEIDI: About an hour ago.

CRAIG: ... so we might keep an eye on what's going on.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Any advice for people in the same situation?

CRAIG: Just keep your chin up and you just work through it.

Everyone around you is going to help. So just look for the help.

HEIDI: We have had so much help from people that we didn't know, people just walking in off the
street. After all this is over we want to give back too because people have done so much for us.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Elizabeth and Anthony, what about you guys - advice for people in Victoria
who might be coming home to see the sort of devastation that you guys have?

ANTHONY: I would agree with this gentleman. You've got to, um, I am finding that I just have to
focus on my list each day and just work through it, the phone calls, the hosing things down,
whatever needs to be done, at the end of the day you kind of think the bigger thoughts about how
did we get here and I can't quite believe this has actually happened to us.

But I've just focussed on things like trying to make each day is going to be a little bit better
than the last one. And that there are going to be some turning points or some pivot points when
we're going to move into a new place or the kids will be back to school, some normalcy will come
into our lives. That is what is kind of keeping me going, as well as help from friends and total
strangers. They've been amazing.

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: There is so much more we could talk about. I could spend an hour just
talking with each of you about your individual experiences but we're out of time for now.

But before we go I do want to make sure people can donate if they want to because there are
thousands of communities all around Queensland who do need your support, just like this one. So if
you can please donate to the Queensland Premier's disaster relief appeal at:

The Australian Red Cross is and Lifeline is on call 24 hours a day on 13 11 14
and at

Thank you very much everyone here for participating. I know you've got so many things that you've
got to do and so we appreciate you very much taking the time out to tell everyone your stories.

Thanks also to all of you at home watching around Australia for watching this program and also for
caring. Until next time, goodnight.