HOW DID TROPICAL CYCLONE MARCIA AFFECT OUR FARMERS?
Residents count costs after theywere isolated for days
RURAL WEEKLY LIFTOUT INSIDE
A HEAVY sigh of relief swept across the Goodnight Scrub and Morganville communities after access was restored on Tuesday.
Hundreds of residents were forced to fend for themselves after being isolated by floodwater for several days.
Morganville and Goodnight Scrub were isolated last Friday due to rising rivers caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia.
Most properties have since lost power, while food and other resources are slowly diminished.
The Mingo Rd crossing had water more than 2m above the bridge at the Perry River, while the causeway near Booyal was under several metres of water.
Residents rejoiced on Tuesday morning when water dropped below the bridge at Perry River, but it may take another few days for the Booyal causeway to reopen. The State Government activated Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) and Disaster Recovery Payments (DRP) on Sunday, but residents like Tara Thompson are not yet eligible.
Details about the payments, which are available online, said the DRP was available for “people who have been seriously injured, who have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged by Tropical Cyclone Marcia or the immediate family members of a person who has been killed”.
Self-employed Mrs Thompson has so far missed four days of work, and with no foreseeable end, could be well out of pocket. “A lot of us can’t work due to being stuck in,” she said.
The communities were last isolated during the major 2013 flood, and on that occasion it took five weeks for the water to subside. Mrs Thompson said all residents received disaster payments on that occasion, but Bundaberg has not yet been declared.
Frustrated NewsMail Facebook friend Helen Dayman said Goodnight Scrub and Morganville had been isolated by floods every two years since 2008, “like clockwork”.
“What are their plans to recognise communities isolated and affected by flooding in Goodnight Scrub and other rural communities?” she asked.
However, she said the communities had been better prepared this time.
In the aftermath to that flood, Bundaberg Regional Council widely consulted the public about the establishment of alternative evacuation routes.
A fact sheet on the BRC website said improved routes for the 400-600 residents would reduce strain on emergency and recovery services, improve public safety and resupply routes. Mayor Mal Forman said raising the Perry River Bridge was considered as part of the Burnett River Floodplain Action Plan.
A new bridge eight metres higher than the existing crossing was examined by the technical working group but at $17.3 million was unaffordable at this stage.
Cr Forman said one yet-to-be-funded proposal was an evacuation route for the Goodnight Scrub area.
“An alternative corridor to the Gayndah-Mt Perry Rd does exist, but requires road upgrades to bring it to an all-weather standard,” Cr Forman said.
“Council has successfully negotiated with the State Government to capture airborne laser scanning of ground levels in this area.”
Cr Forman said the council was looking to install a flood gauge at the Perry River Bridge, but further details, including a target date, were yet to be decided.
Isolated residents check the level of the Burnett River at the Booyal Causeway.
ISOLATED: The flooded Perry River on Saturday (above) and after the water subsided early Tuesday morning. The river isolated Morganville and Goodnight Scrub for days.