Floods bring Regional Queensland Council of Mayors to support of the South East

Published: 01 Mar 2022

The Regional Queensland Council of Mayors (RQCOM) chair, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, has expressed sympathy on behalf of member councils and residents for those caught up in the south-east flood disaster.

He said he was shocked by the devastation and felt for those affected, especially those who had lost family, friends, and colleagues, and those who had lost or suffered damage to property in the current flooding crisis.

“It’s a tragedy when damage like this occurs and we hate to see people suffer under these conditions,’’ Mayor Williamson said.

“It is great to see the community spirit of people banding together and regional Queenslanders are with our friends and family in the south-east to help at this difficult time,” he said.

“That said, these are the conditions that people in regional Queensland are living with every year, every storm season, and there is a Federal fund with $4 billion in it just waiting to be used to mitigate this kind of risk.

“So, we hope this sad flooding event in south-east Queensland will bring the plight of regional Queenslanders to the fore for our decision makers in the south.

“We hope it will act as the catalyst for the release of funds from the Emergency Relief Fund to ensure that we are better prepared for such future events, so that people don't have to put up with the same thing again and again.”

Mayor Williamson said he looked forward to working with the Federal Government before the next disaster season to rebuild and mitigate against future damage, whether it be to the benefit of the south-east, but especially in regional Queensland.

“The National Recovery and Resilience Agency has a $4 billion disaster recovery and mitigation fund that is earning hundreds of millions of dollars in interest every year,’’ he said.

“This fund has earned $836 million in interest, which is supposed to be spent to fund emergency response and natural disaster recovery and preparedness. We want to see that money spent for the very purpose it is intended for.

“We’re determined to see this money released and actually used for what it has been set aside to do, so we can get commitments for expenditure from this fund that will help people across Queensland rebuild their lives and prepare for next time.

“Despite being up and running for years, I’m not aware of one project that has been funded.

“People shouldn’t have to rely on GoFundMe pages in times of crisis like this when there is $4 billion in public money there ready to go.”