Queensland’s event response leaders provide an update on unfolding flood events
On Wednesday March 2, Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston held a press conference alongside Queensland's flood response leaders, providing an update on the ongoing situation across southeast Queensland.
On Wednesday March 2, Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston, alongside QLD Deputy Premier, Steven Miles MP, Jonty Bush, Member for Cooper, Brendan Moon Queensland Reconstruction Authority, and Mike Wassing, Deputy Commissioner QFES, provided an update to the media on the ongoing flood event in Brisbane and southeast Queensland.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing
Opening the press event, QFES Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing gave attending press an update on SES requests for assistance as of the morning of March 2, 2022.
We've now had over 10,200 requests for assistance to the SES and they continue to come in. A range of things in terms of resupply issues where we’ve still got isolated communities for medicine, for food supplies, as well as helping people get out of some of those isolated communities.
We have an enormous number of our Rural Five volunteers, State Emergency Service volunteers and our Fire Rescue staff currently in clean-up operations, ranging from Maryborough right through to the Gold Coast once the floodwaters are starting to recede.
QLD Deputy Premier, Steven Miles MP
Deputy Premier, Steven Miles MP provided updates on Queensland’s recovery process, noting that while water levels are receding, residents in affected areas could still be impacted by more rain to come.
QFES, supported by local government and the QRA has begun damage assessments. They were more able to get into areas where the damage was largely on Sunday, so those affected by localised flooding and creek flooding, but we will get more assessments today and we'll have a better picture today of what level of damage we have experienced.
I want to thank all of the workers and all of the volunteers, whether they're from the SES, the police, our fire and emergency services, our energy workers are doing just such an incredible job. Everyone employed in local government who are staffing our local Local Disaster Management Groupd (LDMGs) and everyone doing those disaster assessments. They're doing an incredible job.
Suncorp Group CEO, Steve Johnston
Suncorp Group CEO, Steve Johnston announced key suburbs in both the Brisbane metro and northern NSW regions that were most significantly affected, before discussing the details of the recovery effort already beginning in some locations. Mr. Johnston also noted previous comments on the need for increased investment in flood mitigation.
This is a huge partnership, of friends helping friends, services helping services, all working with the community in terms of this effort and moving into the relief and recovery efforts, which will be so very important for the local communities themselves.
Just in terms of the key hotspots for us (Suncorp) over the last couple of days; Deagon, Boondall, Everton Park and Caboolture, and the unfolding situation in northern New South Wales – particularly in Lismore where we've seen that community flood almost three times in the last five years.
The key thing for us will be to get assessors on the ground and we're doing that in the next 24 hours. We'll get assessors in that'll give us a good sense of the extent of the damage. As we see it today, it's a very different event than in 2011. We've got resources that we can deploy from across Australia, and we're also bringing some people in from New Zealand to support the recovery effort.
There is a range of flood mitigation initiatives that are sitting on the shelf waiting to be approved by the state, the federal and local authorities. We’ve got to improve planning laws and the reality of it is, over the last 50 years we’ve put people in the face of some of these disasters through inadequate planning laws. This is not a criticism of this government or any government in recent times, it has just happened over almost 100 years. So, we’ve got to address that. And then we’ve got to look at this complex issue of taxes and charges in insurance premiums which I am sure will be dealt with over the next couple of years.
Local member for Cooper, Jonty Bush MP
Local member for Cooper, Jonty Bush expressed her thanks and admiration of community spirit she’d seen when visiting flood-impacted suburbs in Brisbane’s north.
I’d like to acknowledge all of our wonderful members of the public and business owners who have come forward and really lent assistance during this time. I think there's a lot of stories that will be told about these floods but, when the mud all washes away, the main story that will last will be one of resilience and recovery and hope.
Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Brendan Moon
Also in attendance was Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Brendan Moon, touching on the impacted communities in the SEQ hinterland and coastal regions, noting that this is not the first time these regions have been impacted by devastating floods.
Once again Queensland communities have been asked to recover from a major natural disaster. We've seen this natural disaster impact communities from Maryborough all the way through to the Gold Coast and West Coast to Toowoomba. Our focus at this particular point in time as we commence the clean-up and transition into recovery is about getting people back in their homes. It's about getting small business and medium enterprise businesses back and operating. And it's about reconnecting communities.
This will be a big task for Queenslanders, but we have done this before. 18 councils in this impacted area have already been activated for allowing a range of relief measures. And at this stage also, 11 council areas have been activated for individual hardship assistance for their communities directly impacted by this event.