Emergency Services Minister To Tour North Qld
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford visit Innisfail and Ingham to inspect flood damage and thank staff involved in the ongoing emergency on Tuesday.
Mr Crawford – who will be reporting back on his trip to the Premier – will be joined by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll.
“I’m proud of the flood response from local emergency services, including Fire and Rescue staff and State Emergency Service (SES) and Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers,” Mr Crawford said.
“This has been a significant event but we all know communities in this part of the world are resilient, and this community spirit has been particularly evident over the past week.
“I know the Queen’s Baton Relay is coming through this area shortly ahead of the Commonwealth Games, and it’s great to see everyone pitching in to clear the way so that the community can enjoy this event."
Mr Crawford said some residents in Innisfail and Ingham chose to evacuate early and "most people have done the right thing and stayed away from floodwater, resulting in fewer swift-water rescues".
“However, we want the community to know that now isn’t the time to become complacent and although floodwater is starting to recede it doesn’t mean the danger has passed," he said.
“We have heard about sightings of crocodiles and sharks in low lying areas and there could be contaminants in the water so it’s very important for everyone to stay away from flooded areas because you just don’t know what could be hidden underwater.
“It’s also important that residents whose homes have been flooded can return to their properties and begin cleaning up without sightseers coming through and creating unnecessary wash which could add to the damage to their properties.”
Mr Crawford said recovery efforts in north-west Queensland were also underway.
“Floodwater has receded in some areas of north-west Queensland but some pockets are still isolated by floodwater and we are working with local authorities to ensure those towns have the supplies and equipment they need,” he said.
The SES has responded to more than 400 calls for assistance across Queensland since the severe weather event began last week, with a large number of calls for sandbagging and flood assistance, particularly around Ingham, Halifax, and Innisfail.
Commissioner Carroll thanked the tireless work of emergency services personnel, many who had given up their own time to help flood-affected communities across north and north-west Queensland.
“Our volunteers have been working very long hours in wet, muddy and often trying conditions and their efforts in response to this event have been exemplary,” Ms Carroll said.
“We want to reassure the community that QFES crews from Fire and Rescue, Rural Fire Service and SES are well-resourced and ready to help those who need it as recovery efforts continue.
Cassowary Coast Regional Council Mayor John Kremastos praised the hard work and dedication of the emergency service workers and council staff who worked tirelessly to inform and assist residents over the weekend.
“Over the years, we have seen events of this nature here in the Far North, we have a strong and experienced team to deal with situations like this,” Mayor Kremastos said.
“I congratulate and thank our teams who have been working around the clock assessing damages, needs and restoring services.”
The SES can be contacted on 132 500 but if it is a life-threatening emergency call Triple Zero immediately.
Queenslanders looking for tips on how to prepare for a severe weather event or for more details on emergency kits should visit getready.qld.gov.au.