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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 1795

Mr NEUMANN (8:20 PM) —Just to give an indication of the extent of the flood damage, what happened and what confronted the Somerset Regional Council and the Ipswich City Council, on Monday, 10 January 2011, 18 inches of water, on the old scale, landed in the Somerset Dam in 24 hours. By the afternoon, the council’s administration office, the library building, was inundated, sweeping away cars and, indeed, many people in the Esk area as the floodwaters from the Redbank Creek broke their banks and swept through the caravan park.

I want to pay tribute to the mayor of Ipswich, Paul Pisasale, and the Mayor of Somerset Regional Council, Graeme Lehmann, their councillors and all the council staff who worked so well, during the flood crisis. I also want to thank the State Emergency Services workers, the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, the rural fire Brigades, St John’s Ambulance Service, Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Police Service, the Australian Defence Force, the Salvation Army, Lifeline, churches, charities, the Red Cross and other community organisations as well as the school communities which have been affected, particularly the school principals, their teachers, staff and school communities.

In my area we saw floods hit a number of schools. I want to pay tribute, particularly to school principals. Di Pedersen is the school principal of the Mount Tarampa State School, a school of about 48 young people. It is a school basically on a swamp. She and the school community fixed it up. The water came through into the library and into the school buildings. Liz Bailey is the school principal of Patrick Estate School, a school of 28 kids. While she was running the evacuation centre at Esk—built under a great BER program, I might add—her school was devastated, so she went back and helped rebuild the school. I want to pay tribute to her and the whole school community.

David Raine is the principal of Fernvale State School, a school of just over 500 young people. That school also acted as an evacuation centre—another great BER project, I might add. He worked his insides out all the time during the flood. People broke into the school to get away from the water. Peter Doyle, principal of Brassall State Primary School, and his whole school community suffered so much. Every book, including every library book, and every teaching aid were destroyed. But he and the whole school community worked hard to get the school back on track and it opened for business on the day it was supposed to.

Simon Riley is the principal of Ipswich State High School. The whole school community worked hard. The manual arts building, the school sports equipment, the school oval and the shed have all gone. It was dreadful. Every school building at Bundamba State Primary School was also inundated. Marlene Eltham and her whole staff worked so hard there. Debbie Hansen and all her staff at Ipswich East State School worked so hard to get their school back on track and, with music equipment gone, I pay tribute to you, Deputy Speaker D’Ath, and to the member for Rankin, who, through your efforts, provided musical equipment to help the music room get started again at Ipswich East State School.

I want to pay tribute to the ADF: to Major Tony Smith and Brigadier Paul McLaughlin for the wonderful work they did. I also pay tribute to Energex: Justin Bowman, Joe Mulherin, Maurie Riley and Alan Savage worked hard in the Ipswich and the West Moreton areas, organising energy companies, stringing wires, replacing power poles and restoring much-needed power to ensure that these whole communities got the help they needed.

People at the RSLs worked so well. Robert Rye, of the RSL in Toogoolawah, did a great job up there. We have seen great evidence of people who work so hard in local school communities. There was Neville Finlay and his team from the SES in Toogoolawah, mainly young people, doing food drops to 140 people, including 115 adults. The SES organised helicopter drops and drove boats across rivers and creeks in places like The Glen, Ivory Creek, Eskdale, Harlin and Gregors Creek. It was a wonderful effort by these people. We saw a great deal of work done by so many people across so many areas.

We saw great work done by Tony Perera, who is the Ipswich Centrelink manager. He worked so hard across so many days until in the end they had to tell him to go home; he had worked so fiercely well across so many days. We saw the SES in Ipswich and Arie van den Ende and his team perform well. We saw people like Denise Hanly, Catie Davis, Kerry Silver, Christine McDonald, Peter Doyle—as I said before—work well. Merv Neumann, my uncle, together with Councillor Charlie Pisasale ran the evacuation and recovery centre at Avon Hall at Leichhardt-One Mile. We saw people like Pastor Mark Edwards, who set his own daughter’s wedding back a week so that he and his whole church community at the Ipswich Region Community Church could run a recovery and evacuation centre for about three aged-care facilities. All the people from those aged-care facilities stayed there. The Prime Minister visited that particular centre.

Then there were the Ripley Valley Rural Fire Brigade volunteers: people like Jim Runham, Matthew Mulroney, John Bowles, Steven Woodridge, Dave Morris, Steven Phillips and all the people from the TS Ipswich volunteers flood boat teams—people like Brendon Weber, John Klaebe, Andrew Shortland, Justin Martin, Cassie Broadfoot, Frank Martin and Paul Klaebe, who did fantastic work during these flood times. We saw a lot of people suffer tremendously as a result of what went on during these days.

We saw a lot of people working in places like Karalee State School. We saw the police working particularly in that area, and I want to pay tribute to local police Superintendent Garth Pitman and also a couple of other police officers who did great work—like Senior Sergeant Terry Cantwell and Senior Sergeant Bruce Werda, who were stranded on what they call the Karalee Island. They kept law and order but also organised the local community. The state member for Ipswich, Wayne Wendt, and I arrived and they handed over to the Red Cross. It was like military precision; they ran it so brilliantly. Then there were people like Sergeant Jacqui Munn. She and a number of her young constables actually lost their shoes in the floodwaters and they had cars that were stuck in the floodwaters, but they worked so hard around Lowood. I want to pay tribute to them.

People in the Department of Communities worked really well in the area. I want to pay tribute to people like Terry Flanagan, Brooke Winters and Annabelle Johnston—who came back from her holidays to work just in time to arrive in the area. People in rural areas were cut off, like in Wivenhoe Pocket where Graham Peall from the rural fire brigade, with his offsiders Rob Scully and Wayne Gossow, together with the Energex worker stuck in that area, Richard Perry, worked so hard. I think that these local communities showed tremendous community spirit in great adversity.

I want to pay tribute to a couple of other people too. Councillor Cheryl Bromage, of her own volition, with Kevin Bianchi, the Principal at St Joseph’s Primary School, set up an evacuation centre there, catering to the people of North Ipswich and Brassall. I think those people were fed the best meals in the whole of Ipswich at the time, because Gerard Gimpel, the Deputy Principal, told me so, and so did Councillor Cheryl Bromage. We had people like Leo and Sharon Conway, who are friends of Ipswich West state member Wayne Wendt; the meals they were feeding people were like gourmet meals. In the end people were so taken by the meals that they said, ‘I don’t know whether I want to go home or not, because I am being so well fed’. They did such a fantastic job.

I want to pay tribute to the council workers. We saw so many of them at the evacuation centres, from Ipswich City Council and the Somerset Regional Council. I want to pay tribute to Ipswich Superintendent Robyn Rossi and her offsider, Pat Roach, from St John’s Ambulance. They serviced up to about 700 people at the evacuation centre at Ipswich.

I cannot forget the Brisbane Valley and Ipswich Meals on Wheels, the Harvest Rain Christian Care, the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and the Ipswich Region Community Church, and who could forget the wonderful efforts of the archdeacon, Reverend Matthew Jones, from St Paul’s Anglican Parish during the flood crisis, particularly at the evacuation centre at Ipswich. He really was a spiritual mentor and counsellor to many people.

I have paid tribute to the young people of the Riverview area but I also pay tribute to the wonderful women of Riverview. Kerry Silver and Christine Macdonald led the Riverview community centre so well. I want to pay tribute to many people but there are too many to thank. I have named a few just in honour of the work they did. I was very proud to be the member for Blair when I saw the wonderful work being done by people who showed courage, determination, commitment and resilience at this time.