Bob and Robbie Drag Ministers to See Gulf Floods
THE long process of rebuilding community infrastructure, businesses and livelihoods will soon be underway at Burketown in the Gulf – one of the hardest hit parts of the region during the recent flooding.
Katter’s Australian Party MPs for Kennedy and Traeger Bob and Robbie Katter visited the Gulf communities for the second time on Friday, March 17, however this time were joined by Queensland Minister for Agricultural Development and for Rural Communities, Mark Furner, and Federal Minister for Agriculture and Emergency Management, Senator Murray Watt.
The KAP MPs had been heavily pushing for the ministers to visit the flood-affected region since their first trip, and were calling for immediate flood relief funding.
On Friday, Federal MP Bob Katter welcomed the funding announcements which included payments through the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance which provides up to 13 weeks of federal income support to assist people who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster.
Mr Katter said he appreciated Minister Watt’s presence while reminding the government of the significance of Australia’s cattle industry – the hardest hit industry in the Gulf with the latest estimates reporting more than 50,000 cattle losses.
“For most graziers, it will take up to seven years at least, for them to return to where they were before the floods,” Mr Katter said.
“We get floods everywhere in the cattle industry, we get droughts, we get a lot of things.
“But if the government can help us through these tough times, we can continue to deliver 20,000 – 30,000 jobs (throughout the industry) in Australia.”
Burketown Mayor Ernie Camp on Friday said authorities had begun to assess the damage throughout the town and stations, identifying which houses were safe to return to, following the mass evacuation earlier in the month.
Mr Camp said going forward, the focus for the local government would be to secure funding to prepare for better disaster resilience.
“You’ll never flood-proof the Gulf, but you can make it more resilient. Some of these roads need to be 1.5m higher,” Mr Camp said.
“In town the water has certainly fallen away, water would have been up to your chest at most of the causeways around town. But it only takes one storm and it starts all over again.
“For now, we appreciate the government’s announcements. We just ask for on-the-ground assistance to process the payments and funding.”
Burketown Mayor Mr Camp and Doomadgee Mayor Jason Ned will be in Canberra this week meeting with Federal Ministers in a bid to ensure full recovery efforts are prioritised.
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