From the Mayor's Desk - 7 December 2021« Back
From the Mayor’s Desk: After devastating floods and near-misses, recovery is underway across the region and we look to easing border restrictions next week
Floods have been widespread and devastating across the region this week. It’s still not over for many – particularly the region’s west, and the recovery continues for Inglewood residents, along with the many other rural properties that have been inundated. Our thoughts are with all those who have been impacted.
Many rural properties across the Goondiwindi Region have endured significant infrastructure damage, and lost crops and livestock – and some now face being cut off for weeks. I encourage those affected to look out for one another; check in on your neighbours if you can. If you need supplies such as medications or groceries, please don’t wait it out - contact Council on (07) 4671 7400.
Council is seeking additional financial assistance for impacted rural properties in the region. To build the case for this support, please report any damage to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23. Don’t forget to take supporting photos of damaged property if it is safe to do so.
I strongly encourage flood-affected Inglewood residents to apply for financial assistance if eligible. Drop in to the Community Recovery Hub at the Inglewood Civic Centre, open daily 9 - 4 pm, for assistance. The Hub is an opportunity to speak face-to-face with the friendly team, including numerous support agencies, who can help with applying for flood recovery grants and more. Texas residents are also encouraged to make contact as services and funding may also extend to impacted households - for more information, visit https://www.communityrecovery.qld.gov.au or call the hotline on 1800 173 34.
In Inglewood especially, many lessons were learnt during the flood last week. A community debrief followed by a BBQ will be held next Tuesday, 14 December at 5.30 pm to discuss what worked and what didn’t. For catering purposes, please RSVP either online at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/inglewood-community-debrief-and-bbq-tickets-223141521297?aff=ebdssbdestsearch&keep_tld=1 or phone Council on 4652 0200.
Elsewhere in the region, I was able to get to Texas to accompany the Queensland Water Police as they carried out welfare checks on locals living on the flood plain last week. I was also able to accompany our emergency services personnel to Bungunya, Talwood and Toobeah to assess the situation and speak to residents over the weekend.
In Yelarbon, I was extremely relieved that town residents escaped inundation. Around 50 residents evacuated, and Council was able to coordinate a helicopter drop of supplies to those who stayed while the town was cut off. All those who stayed at the Goondiwindi Evacuation Centre are now thankfully returned to their homes.
Finally, I’d like to give a huge thank-you to everyone who played their part in the effort to protect people and property as our region faced this flood event. The community spirit in looking out for each other has been heart-warming. I also want to thank the Council staff for managing road closures, organising evacuation points and centres, patrolling the levee bank, protecting local infrastructure, and getting the necessary warnings and communications out to our community; our Local Disaster Management Group leading a week of difficult decisions; our local SES group and Queensland Police Service assisting countless community members in their time of need.
COVID BORDER UPDATE
The state government yesterday announced that the Queensland border will reopen at 1 am next Monday, 13 December. With a local double-vaccination rate of 91.5%, our region is extremely well-prepared for the return of interstate travel.
I have continued to advocate for more freedom for vaccinated border zone residents from both sides of the border. So, I am delighted that overall, the changes will be more workable, with fully vaccinated border zone residents able to move freely across the border without the need for a PCR test, and border passes valid for 14 days.
However, the news that Moree Plains Shire Council residents are still considered ‘restricted’ is incredibly disappointing. Council is seeking urgent clarification from the state government on the rules for ‘restricted’ border zone residents and what the requirements will be for this status to be lifted.
As per the state government announcement, non-vaccinated border zone residents will only be able to cross the border for limited reasons, as is the case now. For more information, visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions/travelling-to-queensland
Inglewood Aged Care update
And finally, some well-deserved good news for Inglewood. I am extremely pleased to confirm the settlement of the sale of the former Churches of Christ ‘Casa Mia’ site to Goondiwindi Regional Council on behalf of the Inglewood community. This is a great outcome, and I’m so pleased to have crossed this hurdle. It will now ultimately be up to the Inglewood Aged Care Steering Committee and the local community to determine the best locally owned and operated model for the facility.