Volunteering tradies chip in
AFTER living through his own disaster as a teenager, plumber Peter Blackhall didn’t even hesitate about signing up to help rebuild homes and community areas affected by the floods.
The 54-year-old, who operates Blackhall Plumbing and Drainage, is among more than 400 tradies who have put their names down to be part of Operation Bounce Back.
The operation was launched by the Queensland Government in conjunction with Channel Seven’s Sunrise program.
It aims to find tradespeople from around the country to help in the rebuilding phase by offering their services for free, with the Goodna Rugby League Club the first project.
Mr Blackhall said he could remember living through Cyclone Althea in 1971 and seeing the devastation it wreaked on Townsville.
“People came out of the woodwork and came to help,” Mr Blackhall said.
“They brought food and gave generously what they could.
“I see this as my way of paying back what was done for me.
“I can’t just stand back and let people wait for insurance companies.”
He encouraged other Ipswich tradies to donate their skills to the cause.
“It is only a pittance of time,” Mr Blackhall said.
“It is not going to be forever.
“People should get in and do what they can while they can.”
Sunrise co-host David Koch said the sheer scale of the destruction across south-east Queensland had been staggering.
Mr Koch said the campaign aimed to avoid having flood victims left in limbo as they waited for tradies.
“We want Queensland to bounce back as quickly as possible,” he said.
“We need plumbers, carpenters and electricians, basically anyone that can ensure residents have the essentials like hot water, a working toilet and an operating kitchen.”
Mr Koch said from bricklayers to gas fitters and tilers, they were keen for tradies with their own tools to volunteer their services.
“We would also love construction companies to release staff and pay their wages, that would be terrific,” he said.
“We want to spread the goodwill and harness it.”
Details will be forwarded to the Queensland Public Works Department who will co-ordinate when and where your help is needed.