Community pushed to brink by flood
IPSWICH’S Murri community is trying to build a united force to tackle the city’s ongoing housing issues in the wake of the January floods.
Representatives of the State Department of Communities, local area councillor Trevor Nardi, the Salvation Army and Kambu Medical attended yesterday’s meeting at the Dinmore Murri Baptist Church, which aimed to give hope to those who had lost almost everything.
Addressing the gathering of 30 to 40 people at the meeting, church member Narelle Simpson said she’d spoken to indigenous families who were living in terrible conditions and required urgent government assistance.
“It is depression time for these families – we’ve got young people committing suicide,” she said.
“The Aboriginal people of Ipswich deserve to be treated with dignity.”
Pastor Paul Ellis, who opened the meeting, said there were issues of overcrowding – with several families forced to move in together since the floods – as well as some families who had been left with no option but to move back into flooded homes that were still contaminated.
“This meeting is a good opportunity to raise awareness of these issues and to how they can be addressed,” Pastor Ellis said.
For flood victim Rebecca Crawford, simply having the opportunity to speak directly to a representative of the Department of Communities was a step forward.
Ms Crawford’s rented Bundamba home was left unliveable after the floods, forcing her and her two sons – one of whom was only five weeks old – out with nowhere to go.
After spending eight days in the evacuation centre, she moved into another rental home with her parents. “My son and I are still sleeping on mattresses on the floor,” she said.
The house Ms Crawford is currently living in is on the market and she will have to move out mid-year.
She said she didn’t know where she would go next. “At the moment it’s about $270 a week for a three-bedroom and, as a single mum, I just can’t afford that.
Further regular meetings between the Department of Communities’ Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Service and the local Murri community are planned.
Ipswich Housing Service Centre, 4 Bell Street, phone 3280 1420
General housing assistance hotline: 1800 173 349