Minister visits Isa to talk disaster relief

REPAIR BILL: QFES commissioner Katarina Carroll, mayor Joyce McCulloch and minister Craig Crawford talk about Mount Isa roads.
REPAIR BILL: QFES commissioner Katarina Carroll, mayor Joyce McCulloch and minister Craig Crawford talk about Mount Isa roads.

Disaster relief funds are on the way for the flood ravaged north west.

Cloncurry, McKinlay, Mount Isa, Richmond, Winton, Barcaldine, Flinders and Longreach will all get a slice of the funding. 

Federal minister Angus Taylor said the money would support response operations and repair flood damaged assets, including local roads.

“Flood waters have affected communities across the region, with a number of townships completely cut off by floodwaters,” Mr Taylor said.

“Many councils in this area have reported damage to road infrastructure, with roads needing to be closed to ensure community safety.”

“This significant rainfall and flooding has caused disruption to mining and pastoral operations around Cloncurry. There have been impacts to the rail network with assessments and repairs required to ensure passenger and cargo safety,” Mr Taylor said.

Queensland Emergency Services minister Craig Crawford said it would take weeks to determine the damages bill, but it would likely be upwards of $20 million.

Mr Crawford is touring the north west to inspect damage and meet with local council’s to identify funding priorities. 

Mount Isa mayor Joyce McCulloch said she met with the minister on Wednesday to talk about roads. 

SOGGY SIGHT: The Leichhardt River in flood near Burketown. Photo: Burke Shire Council.

SOGGY SIGHT: The Leichhardt River in flood near Burketown. Photo: Burke Shire Council.

Roads in and out of Burketown and Doomadgee remain closed to traffic. 

Mr Crawford said supplies are being coordinated for these communities.

“In areas where the trucks can't get through we can then utilise whether supplies have to come by air, by water, or even an escort where police bring the truck in under safe conditions," Mr Crawford said.  

The minister also met with McKinlay, Cloncurry and Winton councils.

Minister Crawford with Cloncurry mayor Greg Campbell at the Butcher Creek Crossing on the road to Corella Park. Picture: Cloncurry Council.

Minister Crawford with Cloncurry mayor Greg Campbell at the Butcher Creek Crossing on the road to Corella Park. Picture: Cloncurry Council.

Cloncurry mayor Greg Campbell said it was great to have the minister see firsthand the infrastructure damage to roads, crossings and properties from the rain at the beginning of March.

“While the rain was most welcome, much infrastructure, including public and private roads, fences and dams experienced some form of damage, contributing to a high restoration bill,” Mayor Campbell said.

“To have this flood event recognised by the state will assist in the recovery and take a huge burden off the community already impacted by days of isolation.”

Mr Crawford thanked staff involved in the ongoing emergency.

“It’s great to see all of the services that make up Queensland Fire and Emergency Services working together to help the community and their efforts will see these areas rise to their feet quickly and get back to normality as soon as possible,” Mr Crawford said. 

“On top of more than 400 calls to the SES in the last week for this event, our swift-water rescue crews and rural firefighting volunteers have also responded to calls for everything from flood rescue to calls for clean-up help.

“Apart from thanking our hard-working personnel, I’d like to recognise the community for their preparations ahead of, and during the flooding event,” he said.

“People out here in the west are known for being self-sufficient but they’re also very sensible and have been listening to the warnings, making sure everyone stays as safe as possible during this flood event.”