Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (12:48): Two weeks ago, on Friday, flooding occurred in parts of Brisbane and the Moreton Bay region. Normally, in May 58 millimetres is the average rainfall. On this Friday afternoon and night, 400 millimetres fell in parts of Moreton Bay. This caused chaos on Friday afternoon, with many homes flooding, sporting grounds flooding and many local roads flooding. In fact, people were unable to get home on that Friday afternoon. I know a local worker in Clontarf who was stranded until 10 o’clock that night. I know of other people who were working in Brisbane city who had to walk home from the city because it was taking so long. Other people who were travelling back from the Sunshine Coast could not get down to parts of Brisbane due to the highway being cut and got in at midnight. At a school in the local area—Grace Lutheran College—the principal stayed back with students until 10 o’clock at night, when school had finished at three. There was absolute chaos.
Four hundred millimetres is, of course, a massive amount of rain. The next day, after this severe flooding, we heard about the devastation in many parts of my electorate. Hundreds of houses were partially or completely flooded. My own home in Woody Point was partially flooded. Water came into the rumpus room and soaked all the carpet. Down in Bracken Ridge, homes were flooded. Even in the neighbouring seat, over in Sandgate—down on Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue and on Flinders Parade— many homes were flooded. But there was particular damage in the Moreton Bay region, in Griffin and Mango Hill. The local progress association hall at Mango Hill had water right through it. There was also bad damage in Rothwell, near the roundabout, and out in Deception Bay. Police in fact deemed 106 houses in Deception Bay uninhabitable. That is 106 families that were displaced—and, of course, in the massive deluge that swept through the region on Friday and Saturday morning, five residents up around Caboolture lost their lives.
I would like to let the people in my electorate who have been affected by the storm and flooding know that they are not alone in this. As your local federal member and a leader in the community, I speak on behalf of many people in the electorate in saying that we are thinking of you—those who were particularly affected, with houses flooded and property damaged—at this time. Immediate hardship assistance is available for people directly impacted by the flood to meet their immediate essential needs for food, clothing, medical supplies and temporary accommodation. More and more streets are being added to the assistance zones. You can go to the Queensland government website to check if your area is included in this. The Moreton Bay Region State Emergency Service Unit was and is also there to help. They received more than 600 calls on that Friday evening and are working day and night around the area to get in touch with people and help them out.
I take this opportunity to thank the Moreton Bay SES and our local emergency services—police, fireys, ambulance officers and even the Redcliffe Coast Guard out on the water, who helped boaties with debris and other issues. I also thank the Moreton Bay Regional Council, the Red Cross, Lifeline, GIVIT representatives and the local police who set up the community recovery hub at the Rothwell community hall on Morris Road. In addition, I thank the state member for Murrumba—I know he was out and about and was on the scene early— as well as local councillors, the mayor, all the staff at the Moreton Bay Regional Council and other government staff. I know the state government has set up an inquiry in relation to the Moreton Bay Rail Link to ensure that the flooding did not have an impact on its construction. I thank the state government for doing that.
I also say thank you to the many brave and good-hearted people who helped their neighbours or those stranded in the storm. We will never know who they all were or what they all did, but they did things like helping neighbours to remove items or to sandbag. Their good deeds did not go unnoticed by the people in our community. Thank you to them. You are all heroes.
There were a couple of people I did hear about who stood out. There was a father of three, Andy Cooper, who brought pizza to flood stranded commuters who had been waiting for hours and hours and had had nothing to eat. He went and bought a whole lot of pizzas. I hear that Domino’s has offered him a year’s supply, so well done to them as well. There were also all the people who parked and got into the floodwater at the bridge on Cowen Terrace in North Lakes to remove debris so water could drain. There were stories right around the electorate.
I want to tell the people in my electorate who are still feeling the ramifications of the storm: I sincerely hope your recovery will be fast. If you would like information about immediate hardship assistance, you can call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349. Next week, and in the coming weeks when we are not in parliament, I will be out and about in the community. I encourage you to contact my office and let us know if we can help in any way. I would like to hear your story. I thank everyone in the Petrie electorate for pulling together and helping their neighbours.