Army troops called to clean up flooded gulf

Mar 23, 2023

Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has used a media conference in Cairns this morning to heighten calls to deploy Australian Defence Force (ADF) troops to the mammoth flood clean-up in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Mr Katter’s formal request for assistance on behalf of the Burketown, Normanton and Doomadgee communities comes as the Burke and Doomadgee mayors stage a mercy dash to Canberra to detail the full scale of distress unfolding in their regions.

“Gulf communities in the electorate of Traeger are in ruin from the recent Northern and Central Queensland monsoon and flooding event, causing the loss of at least 50,000 cattle and major destruction of property,” Mr Katter said.

“Doomadgee and Burke are both isolated by floodwaters, relying on helicopters to bring in supplies and evacuate most of the residents, with the ones left behind now grappling with chronic fuel shortages and health concerns from mosquito-borne diseases.

“This has only exacerbated the anguish in Doomadgee, which has been cut off by long-term flooding since Christmas, forcing its 1,800 residents to rely on a single plane only to bring in everyday essentials once a week, precipitating skyrocketing prices and an everyday essentials crisis.”

Mr Katter has also rallied for community support around small family-run Tirranna Springs Roadhouse between Doomadgee and Burketown, which lost everything after receiving more than 750mm of rain in in just three days.

“In a devastating twist, we understand the owners lost their insurance before the floods as no insurance company would take them on, which is an issue the KAP has long been fighting in the form of introducing a mechanism like a market moderator or reinsurance pool,” he said.

Mr Katter has written to the Queensland Minister for Fire and Emergency Services requesting ADF deployment in response to the natural disaster, which requires a direct request for assistance from the affected State or Local Government in accordance with the Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC) manual and the Australian Government Disaster Response Plan (COMDISPLAN).

Meanwhile, the Doomadgee and Burke mayors are continuing their requests to the Federal Government to invest a total $85 million in constructing bridges and repairing the airstrip to improve long-term access to the communities.

“Doomadgee particularly already has enough health issues and the median income is far less than the average Queenslander so they cannot afford to repeatedly find themselves in these situations due to lack of regard from the Government,” Mr Katter said.