A Chinook helicopter takes off after delivering much-needed food and medical supplies to Mt Crosby State School emergency centre during the floods disaster.
A Chinook helicopter takes off after delivering much-needed food and medical supplies to Mt Crosby State School emergency centre during the floods disaster. Yvonne Gardiner

$50 cap would stop 'food riots'

CALLS have been made for a cap of $50 to be introduced at supermarkets and petrol stations in disasters like January’s floods to prevent the “food riots”.

The suggestion was made to the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry yesterday by a state MP whose electorate covers suburbs bordering Ipswich like Mt Crosby and Karana Downs.

Moggill MP Bruce Flegg put forward the idea after he claimed police were called to a supermarket in his electorate to break up a “punch up” at a check out.

He said the fights started because of low supplies due to panic buying, and said introducing such a cap could help in the future.

Suburbs in his electorate, like Mt Crosby to Ipswich’s north, were cut off from both Brisbane and Ipswich due to flood waters.

“A $50 limit would appear appropriate and would allow people to stock up on basic essentials without going ‘stupid’,” he said in a written submission.

On January 14 this year supplies dropped so low in Mt Crosby that military helicopters had to airlift in food and medical supplies to an emergency centre at Mt Crosby State School.

Dr Flegg went on in his submission to criticise the amount of information available to residents as flood waters rose, and what he described as the seemingly uncoordinated approach of government departments.

He said his constituents had not expected to be isolated without power for so many days.

“It’s true that nobody was going to starve to death but there was certainly a lot of fear and anxiety in the phone calls I was getting,” Dr Flegg said.

Fronting the inquiry, he denied playing politics over a food drop.

With an LNP colleague, he had organised for a private chopper to drop supplies off on January 14.

He told the inquiry he got “hot under the collar” when police knocked back the plan.

The inquiry heard Dr Flegg’s plan was knocked back because the military helicopters had already been planned for that day.



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