News

More than 300 homes damaged and a bill of $150m: Mayor

MUDDY HELL: The post-flood clean-up in Laidley.
MUDDY HELL: The post-flood clean-up in Laidley.

MORE than 300 Lockyer Valley homes were "substantially damaged" in the floods and the council's damage bill stands at an estimated $150-$200 million, according to Mayor Steve Jones.

As residents, shop owners and volunteers marked the fourth day of the clean-up yesterday, Cr Jones did receive some good news though after Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments were secured for flood-affected Lockyer Valley people.

Residents hit hard by the floods will be able to claim payments of up to $1000 per adult and $400 per child from the Federal Government.

Laidley post flood 2013. Jodie Morgan outside her property on Short Street. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Laidley post flood 2013. Jodie Morgan outside her property on Short Street. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

The news will come as some relief to Jodie Morgan, of Short St, Laidley, who had only just replaced possessions lost in the 2011 floods.

"The water levels were higher, and there's just so much mud; so much to clean," Ms Morgan said.

"The walls are bowed, the downstairs granny flat needs to be rebuilt, and the new washing machine I got a month ago to replace the one we lost in 2011 got put out on the curb this morning. The mud is up to my calves at the back steps.

"I'm a single mum with three kids and I don't know if I can do this any more. I went into Centrelink to try and get help and they couldn't give me anything and I was just bawling; they need to give us something so we can keep going."

I went into Centrelink to try and get help... I was just bawling; they need to give us something so we can keep going.

Ms Morgan said water levels had been much higher this year.

"Last year they were waist-high and this year they were at shoulder height," she said.

"We were stuck upstairs for 18 hours this time because we didn't have enough time to get out, and the police couldn't get us. This time an SES boat came down the street."

Two volunteers showed up at Ms Morgan's house yesterday, and helped to lift spirits.

"It's tough, though. We had the firies show up and hose the mud out of the garage on the first day, but since then it's just been me and some friends and now my dad.

Laidley post flood 2013. Jodie Morgan outside her property on Short Street, Laidley. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Laidley post flood 2013. Jodie Morgan outside her property on Short Street, Laidley. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

"People have driven into the main street of Laidley and stopped there. They haven't gone past Narda Lagoon to Short St, Mort St and Napier St where we need help still.

Cr Jones said the Lockyer Valley Regional Council would work to put proposals to people who live in flood-affected areas.

"Certainly relocating would be an option if people want to, but only on a voluntary basis," he said.

"We're also looking at building levee banks, better drainage and raising some land."

Cr Jones said the worst hit areas were the Laidley, Glenore Grove, Grantham and Mt Sylvia / Junction View areas.

He reported about 150 people were still isolated at Junction View, due to damaged roads.

Cr Jones said the council would focus on "not just rebuilding, but making things better".

"I think the Grantham land swap was a good example of this in 2011, and we're talking to the government to make sure we improve things out here."

Mick Henderson is not happy that Laidley has not been declared a disaster zone despite water levels being higher through the town than in 2011. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Mick Henderson is not happy that Laidley has not been declared a disaster zone despite water levels being higher through the town than in 2011. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

In the main street of Laidley, Mick Henderson shared his frustration at the delay in declaring the region a disaster zone.

"There are a lot of people who don't have food, clothes or any of their white goods left; they've lost everything," Mr Henderson said.

"People need help.

"From the bridge to the railway line, it just wiped everything out.

"The mud was 10cm thick inside the pub and the water came up higher than it did in 2011 and it was declared a disaster zone straight away back then."

The mud was 10cm thick inside the pub and the water came up higher than it did in 2011 and it was declared a disaster zone straight away back then.

Mr Henderson said the community had united to overcome the disaster.

"We got more warning this year so most of us were able to lift everything up and move it out. "The shop owners are the biggest worry though; a lot of people had just re-opened from 2011."

Gary McNeish from Ramnet IT which was flooded in the 2013 Laidley flood. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times
Gary McNeish from Ramnet IT which was flooded in the 2013 Laidley flood. Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times Rob Williams

Despite significant damage to his shop, Ramnet IT Services owner Gary McNeish was in good spirits yesterday.

"I feel more relieved this year," he said. "I've still got to sort out the house, which got about 15cm of water in, but I know the shop's insured and that's the main thing.

"The silt was the worst thing this year; it was like mudcake about 5cm to 7cm thick through the shop.

The silt was the worst thing this year; it was like mudcake about 5cm to 7cm thick through the shop.

"We lost our own equipment and stock this year, and the customers whose items we have lost have been understanding.

"The last floods are fresh in people's mind and I think we'll be quicker getting back this year."

Flood-affected Lockyer Valley residents can lodge a disaster recovery claim at humanservices.gov.au/disaster, by phoning 180 22 66 between 8am-8pm, or at recovery centres or any Centrelink Service Centre.

Volunteers who want to help with the clean-up can register at the Laidley Council office in Spicer St today, or drive to affected streets and offer help directly.

Topics:  disaster recovery payments lockyer valley mayor steve jones oswald



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