SENATOR MURRAY WATT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DISASTER AND EMERGENCY MANANGEMENT
LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
SUNDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2022
SUBJECTS: South East Queensland flood emergency; Six Queenslanders killed; Federal Labor offers bipartisan support; Disaster assistance.
MURRAY WATT, SHADOW MINISTER FOR DISASTER AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Well, thanks very much for coming today. I know it's a very, very rainy day in Brisbane. So I appreciate you coming along. As you can see, Brisbane and southeast Queensland is continuing to experience extremely heavy rainfall. And the floods across southeast Queensland and parts of New South Wales are extremely concerning. There's a number of areas facing flood levels not seen for a very long time. This morning, I spoke to the mayor of Gympie, they're facing what could be the worst flood they have ever had. And Maryborough, I’ve spoken to the state member there as well. They're waiting and seeing what happens but again, certainly facing a worse flood than they had a few weeks ago and it could be extremely serious there. Today, it looks like Brisbane and the Gold Coast and Logan will be the focus of the heavy rainfall. Already conditions across Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan are pretty serious. You can see here on the banks of the Brisbane River where we're standing that there's a lot of debris in the Brisbane River. The ferry terminal where we are today has risen significantly in water overnight. I was here yesterday and you could actually walk down to the ferry terminal. And now as you can see, there's water well above the ferry terminal as another indicator of how much the water has risen in such a very short time. So this is a really serious situation. And it's vital that people follow emergency warnings and avoid floodwaters. It's a tragedy that we've already seen six Queenslanders lose their lives in recent days. And there's currently one person missing. And we really don't want to see any more fatalities in coming days as a result of these really serious and dangerous circumstances. On behalf of federal Labor, I want to express my condolences to the family and loved ones of those Queenslanders and also the person on the New South Wales Central Coast who have lost their lives due to the floods in recent days. And we hope that there is good news in terms of the man who is missing at the moment. I want to especially recognise the bravery of Merryl Dray, an SES volunteer who lost her life while attempting to save others. This just shows again that we owe our emergency personnel and volunteers a huge debt of gratitude for putting themselves in harm's way to protect us all. And I really hope that we do see our emergency personnel and SES volunteers remain safe as they do the hard work of keeping others safe.
Federal Labor has sought and received briefings from both the Queensland and federal governments on the flood emergency. I spoke to the Federal Minister Bridget McKenzie yesterday and offered our assistance in any way necessary. And I've been in regular contact with the Queensland Emergency Management Minister Mark Ryan, including again this morning. Federal Labor has expressed our desire to assist both governments in a bipartisan manner to ensure that Queenslanders are kept safe. Nothing is more important than that at the moment, keeping people safe, keeping properties safe as much as possible. Noting that we already have reports of hundreds if not more properties already underwater across southeast Queensland.
It will be important that flood victims receive disaster assistance as quickly as possible, and Labor stands ready to assist with that in any way we can. As I say, I spoke to Bridget McKenzie yesterday and encouraged her to ensure that any disaster assistance is made as quickly as possible. And I know that’s certainly her intention and we’ll be working very closely with both the Queensland and federal governments to make sure that that money gets out the door as quickly as possible. Having spoken to a number of mayors in southeast Queensland both this morning and yesterday, I know that we're already going to be facing some pretty serious infrastructure repairs, roads, bridges, culverts. And again, we'll need to make sure that the repairs and funding for those repairs gets out the door as quickly as possible once the worst of this is over. But before we get to that we've got another at least a couple of days of very serious weather in southeast Queensland. Can I again, just encourage everyone to take the warnings seriously, stay away from floodwaters. Where possible, stay at home and do everything you can to keep your families and your property safe as we see what unfolds over the next couple of days.