Grantham residents struggling

GRANTHAM residents whose houses were wrecked when an “inland tsunami” smashed into their town on January 10 need rental assistance as they try to rebuild their lives.

John and Kathy Mahon may yet have their house condemned if it is found to be structurally unsound, but in the meantime they and many others are forced to live in Toowoomba.

Mr Mahon said families were struggling to meet mortgage commitments on their ruined Grantham properties while paying rent for their new accommodation.

“They’ve got young kids and they just can’t afford it,” Mr Mahon said.

“The rates are due soon and they’re going to struggle to pay the rates.”

Mr Mahon was outraged by the government response.

“If you’re a refugee or a boatperson or whatever they accommodate them, give them a house.

“They spend thousands of dollars paying for motel units for refugees,” he said.

“Why can’t the government pay this money out for its own people; people who’ve paid taxes and they’ve lost their homes?

“Surely the government should help the Australian public first before they worry about overseas aid.”

He said state and federal governments needed to get tough with insurance companies and “kick them out of the country” unless they softened their attitude to flood damage.

Insurance problems have been the bane of many flood victims’ existence, but it meant so much more to the Grantham residents.

He said one resident had to seek legal aid and threaten court action before their insurer agreed to pay.

Mr Mahon said he was more fortunate than most, with an offer of free accommodation in Toowoomba, while Woolworths fast-tracked his job application so he would have some work.

The couple have been told they will receive insurance compensation for a caravan and one car, but have been offered too little on a second vehicle.

They will have to wait months to determine whether cracks in the slab of their modern house render it uninhabitable.

“I think it’ll be two years before we get back home, probably,” Mr Mahon said.

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