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Wednesday, 30 March 2022
Page: 1357


Mr VAN MANEN (FordeChief Government Whip) (16:55): To echo the words of the member for Griffiths in relation to the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, equally, whilst my community have suffered through the floods like hers has—and we were both on a call where we had a discussion with Services Australia about some of their lack of proactivity—we're equally concerned about the impact of the floods on northern New South Wales and we've had a number of great local community organisations provide support and services down there to assist. But I want to focus my statement today on my electorate of Forde and, more broadly, the city of Logan and also some of the northern parts of the Gold Coast, which in the context of what happened in Brisbane—and I have no doubt in the member for Blair's electorate as well, through Ipswich and Goodna—probably got somewhat overlooked in the scheme of things.

Across the city of Logan there were some 282 houses that we know of that were fully inundated. That's a much smaller number than the number in Blair or in Griffiths, but there were also a large number of properties impacted in some shape or form by this flood event. It's interesting to learn, having been out and spoken to a number of those property owners, particularly where they live on local creeks, like the community at Bayes Road, Logan Reserve, who are on Schmidts creek, that they got flooded twice. They got flooded first from Schmidts creek by the flash flooding from the heavy rain through Sunday and Sunday night. Later they got flooded again by the Logan River as the flood came down the Logan River.

The two main rivers through my electorate are the Logan and Albert rivers, and this time both had slightly different flood peaks from 2017. Fortunately, the Albert River's peak was a little bit lower than in 2017. There were still a number of homes along Halls Road, Luscombe, a home on Beaudesert-Beenleigh Road at Wolfdene and a couple of houses on Old Mill Road at Bannockburn that got impacted. But there were fewer properties that were impacted than in 2017. Fortunately, the water stayed out of the famous Yatala Pies, but unfortunately, the Beenleigh Yatala Motor Inn once again got flooded. They were quickly back on their feet because they've been particularly busy. A number of properties on Albert Street at Eagleby again got flooded by the Albert River, but, again, to a lesser extent than last time. I'll address the issues regarding flooding of properties a little later. On the Logan River, it was certainly a different story. The flood peak on the Logan River was some 65 centimetres above that of 2017, and a lot of houses that escaped the flooding in 2017 got impacted this time. Unfortunately, those that were impacted last time obviously suffered more badly than they did in 2017.

As we look across the electorate and the city of Logan, I have to speak about, as have others have, the tremendous work that has been done by our community. I was reflecting on this with a number of constituents while I was out and about helping clean up after the floods. What was great to see, after two years of lockdowns and people being largely isolated because of COVID, was that our community once again in a time of crisis got out of their homes and got involved to help those in our community in most need. I commend the team at Logan House Fire Support Network, led by Louie Naumovski, who did an enormous amount of work coordinating volunteers to clean up.

A lot of information was provided to him through Logan City Council, and he would coordinate volunteers to go out and check properties, see what help they needed, arrange teams to go out and clean those properties, remove rubbish, all of those sorts of things. The work was done by Louie and his crew in conjunction with assistance from Volunteering Queensland, Logan City Council and a number of community organisations that I wish to mention today, because I think their work and their efforts in supporting our community deserve to be recognised. St John Ambulance Queensland allowed Shayne Western to spend two weeks with Louie, helping him to assist and coordinate the recovery effort. They were based, for the first little period, at the office of the state member for Waterford, Shannon Fentiman. Later they based themselves out of Logan River Tree Farm, which was very badly inundated. We had, on a couple of days, a very large team of people there—on one day 250 people—helping clean up the tree farm and recover as much as they possibly could.

Some of the other organisations that have been of tremendous support across our community to help this recovery effort include the IGA supermarkets at Loganholme and Loganlea; Nightlight; and Total Tools at Beenleigh, who are only a relatively new business. Louie rang me up one day and said: 'Bert, I need some high-pressure petrol-powered water cleaners.' I rang Total Tools and I spoke to Matt, and the team there jumped into action to provide the equipment we needed.

Other organisations include Kennards Hire at Beenleigh; Bakers Delight at the Logan Hyperdome; Earth Markets at the Logan Hyperdome, who were tremendous in providing food for the volunteers at the base headquarters at Logan River Tree Farm; Lighthouse Care, who provided us with emergency food kits to take to people and help them get through; Ray White at Daisy Hill; RE/MAX Revolution at Shailer Park; and Diggermate Mini Excavator Hire. There were a couple of days when we needed, at short notice, a bobcat or a mini excavator. We rang Diggermate, and they said: 'Yep, we've got one here. Can you come and pick it up? As long as you've got somebody with a ticket, come and pick it up and do what you need with it. If you need for a couple of days, fantastic.'

Other organisations include Spring Transport; Gotzinger Smallgoods; Southside Milk; Sunny Queen eggs; and Rural Fire Brigade units. I saw units from all over the Northern Gold Coast and all over Logan at various properties as I went around—helping people clean up, remove rubbish, hose their houses out. There were also the SES of Logan; the ADF; and the Logan and Gold Coast city councils. Beenleigh PCYC was a community recovery centre.

All of these organisations, whilst not solving the problem of people's houses being flooded, made the difficult situation people were in that little bit easier because they knew they had that help and support to try and start the journey of rebuilding their lives. Sadly, many of these people will not be back in their homes for 12 or 18 months. Some who have two-storey houses are fortunate enough that they can live upstairs, but they will not be able to use downstairs.

In my remaining time, I want to talk about one of the reflections out of this. I look at the flood event of 2017 and the flood event now of 2022. I lived in the area in my younger days and remember the impact of the floods in 1974, when there wasn't the population we have today. I look at the development that has occurred. We could have had a 1974 event, when we had flood levels nearly two metres higher than what we've had on the Logan River recently. One of the discussions I've started to have with Logan City Council and a number of the insurance companies is: how do we build back better and do it differently? That includes resumptions of some properties. Interestingly, some of the property owners I've spoken to are very open to the idea of their properties being resumed, at fair market value—what it was before the flood, not what it is now—so they can move on with their lives, and we can turn those areas into bushland or parkland for community benefit.

Equally, a number of people I have spoken to have said to me: 'Last time it cost the insurance company $250,000 or $300,000 to repair my home. Now it's going to cost more. We know building costs and everything have gone up.' They said, 'We can move the house from here, six metres up the block, and put it on stilts and just have an open carport underneath and it will be flood free.' They're the discussions we need to have. I think the insurance company should be open to those discussions because in the long term it is going to save their money.

I want to thank all of those institutions and all of the individuals involved. Thank you for the effort to help our community recover. We will continue to support you going forward.