From the Mayor's Desk: ‘Get Ready’ for flood season this week – and let’s celebrate 150 years of the Inglewood State School this weekend« Back
Dorothea Mackellar penned her iconic and quintessentially Australian poem, ‘My Country’, over 100 years ago while visiting England and yearning for her land of ‘droughts and flooding rains’. No piece of Australian literature reminds us more essentially of our regular country’s weather extremes.
Sadly, in this era of the voracious 24-hour media cycle and constant predictions (that often don’t come to pass) and alarmist headlines to the point of saturation, it is easy to switch off.
You would have heard me say or write time and again that we can never know how much rain we will get until it is in the rain gauge. But the one thing we can do is to be prepared for when it inevitably does flood - whether it be days, weeks, or months away.
Get Ready Queensland week is this week (10-16 October), with the core message of ‘not IF, but WHEN’.
With a wet outlook ahead, the Goondiwindi Region continues to face a high risk of flooding. With our catchments and waterways saturated, the biggest threat to most in our region will be road closures and isolation. In recent flood events, local communities and individuals have been cut off for days and sometimes weeks at a time, causing inconvenience and restricting access for residents and businesses alike.
The impact and timelines of road closures will vary across the region, so you need to know your individual situation (ask neighbours if you are unsure). Residents and businesses should prepare now: make sure you have the supplies you need for multiple days, including medications, and personal and pet supplies.
The risk of flood inundation is especially pertinent for residents in and around Inglewood. Last week, Council facilitated a flood ‘rehearsal day’ in Inglewood along with numerous key local disaster agencies. It was a chance for authorities to have a dry run of a potential flood evacuation to the new Evacuation Assembly Point at the Waste Transfer Facility, and also gave residents the chance to familiarise themselves with the new Assembly Point location.
As part of Get Ready Week, Inglewood residents are encouraged to prepare for potential flood events by stocking up on sandbags with the assistance of the local SES. Head down to the Inglewood SES building this Thursday (13 October, 10 am – 12 pm) or Friday (1 - 3 pm) for a free demonstration, with bags and sand provided. Thanks to the local SES for their assistance with this.
All Inglewood residents are also invited to a community meeting at the Inglewood Civic Centre this Thursday from 5 – 6.30 pm. This will be a key opportunity to discuss a number of community matters, including important flood preparation updates.
Insurance premiums increases – questioning the ICA
I have recently raised the issue of the dramatic increase in property insurance premiums across the Goondiwindi Region with the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA). I have received accounts from residents of increases of up to 40% year-on-year in Goondiwindi town itself, with steep increases in other towns across the region.
I have asked the ICA for an explanation, as I believe the increases are out of whack with other parts of the state where increases have been much lower. If the reason is supposedly due to flood risk, then it’s illogical: Goondiwindi has a high level of protection, escaping inundation since the levy was built in 1958. Brisbane, on the other hand, has had thousands of properties affected by flooding on multiple occasions in recent years (and comparable policy premiums), and yet the same insurers have increased their premiums by less than 20%.
I will be fascinated, as I’m sure we all will be, when and if the question is answered?
It’s certainly a busy month or so for Inglewood. Recently, I dropped in on the Inglewood Children’s Theatre cast during rehearsals for their production of ‘Pirates and Mermaids’. What a wonderful group of enthusiastic and talented children. It is great that we have the opportunity to participate in and enjoy visual and performing arts across our great region.
Council was also proud to host its third Ordinary Meeting (OM) in the town at the end of last month as part of its commitment to broadening decision-making beyond Goondiwindi. This follows the March OM in Texas earlier this year, with meetings held in Inglewood and Texas every six months on rotation.
This Saturday, current and former staff and students will join in the celebrations with community members in Inglewood to recognise 150 years of the Inglewood State School. The school is an important part of our region’s history, serving our community and providing quality education to students in the Inglewood area going back to 1872.
The celebrations will include an open school with school tours, local markets, food stalls and bar, kids’ entertainment, memorabilia and souvenirs. Tickets are needed for over-18s, for more info, visit: https://inglewoodss.eq.edu.au.
Finally, I look forward to catching up with senior members of the Queensland Hotels Association (QHA) early this week in Goondiwindi. Hospitality is a key industry for our region: it provides employment and enjoyment for many locals and is an important factor in our local visitor economy – as our region works to attract more tourists.