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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 1801

Ms LIVERMORE (8:40 PM) —I thank the member for Blair for putting this motion on the Notice Paper to give those of us whose communities have been affected by floods and other disasters this summer an opportunity to say thank you to the people in our electorates and to those who came in from outside to help us through this time.

Our story in Rockhampton was different to some of the more extreme flooding disasters that we saw in southern parts of Queensland but, nonetheless, hundreds of people had their homes affected. It was really a test for the whole community of Rockhampton and the surrounding communities. It is a test that I believe we rose to, and it has made our community stronger as a result of the coming together in the way we were forced to over this summer.

I have a very long list—as I am sure all members have—of groups and individuals to recognise. I want to start by recognising a group that perhaps was a bit under the radar during the Rockhampton situation. People might remember that the Rockhampton flood actually unfolded quite slowly. We sitting there at the end of the Fitzroy waiting for all that water to come through from places like Theodore and Emerald. So there was quite a long time to prepare. A great deal was asked of family and friends of those people who knew that they were expecting flooding and were going to have to be out of their houses for quite some time. A lot of people around Rockhampton took friends and family into their homes. It stretched out for three weeks or more in some cases, where they were providing that hospitality, comfort and assistance. I really want to acknowledge that helping hand that people put out to those people in our community who were greatly in need.

Very much the face of the flooding emergency in Rockhampton was the evacuation centre at Central Queensland University. Thank you to CQU for making that available. It was a terrific facility. Again, there are little things that you do not actually recognise—things that are not up in lights. One of the great things about the centre in that hot, humid time over January was that it was air conditioned day and night. That was something that the university just took on itself to provide in that great facility. The Red Cross were running the centre and they did a wonderful job of making people feel at home, relaxing people and organising activities for them to pass the days.

There were terrific examples of people from the community going in and making life that bit more pleasant and fun for people at the recovery centre at that very difficult time. For example, a group came in and put on movies for people. One day that I was visiting the centre there was a country and western band set up and playing to entertain the families and people who were in the centre. The Salvation Army did the catering, St Johns Ambulance were there to provide first aid, Save the Children were providing activities for children and Lifeline were there to offer counselling and basic support. The RSPCA, very importantly, set up their own animal shelter at the back of the recovery centre so that animals that had to be evacuated from homes in Rockhampton had a home during that time.

Once we moved into the recovery phase, a very important job was done by Centrelink. I really cannot praise enough the efforts of the local Centrelink manager and her whole team, who were so good at providing support and assistance to people locally. The Queensland Department of Communities were there as well.

One of the important tasks in Rockhampton was preparing for the flood. The council, the SES and the police went door to door letting people know what was happening and what to expect. They told them their options for finding a safe place to go ahead of the flooding. The local media were also terrific in doing that job, the radio stations particularly because they were on the air 24 hours a day and also the local paper and the television crews. They told the local stories and also provided essential information to people to make sure that they were prepared and keeping safe.

There were so many examples of local people donating toys, their time and money. I want to say thank you on behalf of the whole community and I am very proud to be the member for such a place. (Time expired)