Calls to appoint Governor-General to coordinate Gulf flood recovery

Mar 15, 2023

Calls to appoint Governor-General to coordinate Gulf flood recovery

Mar 15, 2023

KATTER’S Australian Party is calling for an authority to be established in North West Queensland to coordinate the Gulf flood recovery as the region prepares to take disaster relief funding “into its own hands.”  

Remote communities in the Gulf region have been drenched with record rainfall, completely isolating Doomadgee and Normanton by road, while inundating almost all of Burketown which has been evacuated. The early damage bill has been estimated to be greater than $50m, while those who remain in the remote communities face escalating grocery prices, limited healthcare and telecommunication services, limited fuel, and will soon be requiring assistance with recovery and repair of property. 

Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said following Cyclone Larry, former Governor-General Peter Cosgrove based himself at Innisfail and “took charge of the emergency amid rising frustration over the speed of the response.”  

Then, in 2011 following the Brisbane floods, Major General Michael Slater was appointed head of a civilian recovery task force to assist the Queensland capital. 

Mr Katter said due to its distance from decision makers and the sheer size of impact of flooding, Far North West Queensland deserved a similar appointment to take charge of its recovery.  

“In all these situations, it has been a military-like operation, so there must be a centralised control. And if there is a centralised control, it’s out of Brisbane, which is thousands of kilometres away,” Mr Katter said.  

Mr Katter said by making such an appointment, it would cut the bureaucratic processes that delay the urgent recovery needs of the communities.  

“If we need the army to put tarps on roofs, or help clean up streets, or any other assistance, those decisions should be made immediately, and on the ground where the disaster is occurring.”  

KAP leader and State Member for Traeger Robbie Katter said it was disappointing to not have seen any State or Federal Government representation in the devasted region. 

“It’s not good enough that people have been offered just $180 up there, when those in Brisbane and Townsville were getting $1000,” Robbie Katter said. 

“We acknowledge there’s still work to be done, but we think we should take matters into our own hands, and we’ll be seeking to look after ourselves and unlock the funds the councils up there have sitting in reserve for situations like this.  

“If the State Government isn’t going to look after us, we’ll look after ourselves. It’s shame it’s come to that, but people are crying out for help up there.  

“People are in mental distress up there, and $180 isn’t even going to get you groceries for a week.  

“KAP will be working with the councils up there to ensure we get some proper assistance, with or without the government’s help.”