‘ Clowns’ abuse work­ers

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by John An­der­sen john. an­der­sen@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

ABUSED State Emer­gency Ser­vice vol­un­teers are say­ing they don’t want to go back to the Cas­sowary Coast.

A fu­ri­ous Cas­sowary Coast Mayor Bill Shan­non said it was all be­cause SES vol­un­teers, who were in the area from all over Aus­tralia, were be­ing sub­jected to taunts and per­sonal abuse from dis­en­chanted lo­cals.

He said the same thing was hap­pen­ing to coun­cil staff.

An an­gry Cr Shan­non said he had had a gut­ful and that he wanted the ‘‘ clowns’’ who were de­liv­er­ing the abuse to think about their ac­tions.

‘‘ They should pull their heads in. I’ve had a gut­ful of these clowns,’’ he said.

Cr Shan­non said it was a mi­nor­ity, but quite a large mi­nor­ity, that was re­spon­si­ble for the abu­sive treat­ment of vol­un­teer emer­gency work­ers, and coun­cil staff who had been work­ing long hours since Cy­clone Yasi on Fe­bru­ary 2.

He blamed mis­in­for­ma­tion and poor and un­sub­stan­ti­ated news­pa­per and tele­vi­sion re­port­ing for stir­ring up re­sent­ment against the SES and coun­cil work­ers.

‘‘ I am dis­ap­pointed about some of the in­for­ma­tion be­ing sent out ( in the me­dia) that is crit­i­cal of the SES,’’ Cr Shan­non said.

‘‘ The SES peo­ple come here from all over Aus­tralia to adopted a ‘‘ softly, softly’’ ap­proach since the cy­clone and had been con­stantly try­ing to de­liver a pos­i­tive mes­sage about how the shire was re­cov­er­ing and about how the pop­u­la­tion was be­ing stoic in the face of ad­ver­sity.

‘‘ I’ve changed now. I’m over it. These peo­ple who are abus­ing work­ers. There’s noth­ing to be proud of there. We’ve got SES vol­un­teers now say­ing they won’t be com­ing back.‘‘

Cr Shan­non said ev­ery­one had been af­fected by the cy­clone and he un­der­stood how the con­stant rain and flood­ing was mak­ing things so much worse.

He said this was no ex­cuse to abuse peo­ple who were try­ing to help.

‘‘ I can’t blame

these SES work­ers f or say­ing t hey won’t be com­ing back. They don’t de­serve this sort of treat­ment,’’ he said.

T u l l y S E S c o n t r o l l e r Trevor Bai­ley said the abuse usu­ally came from peo­ple ‘‘ who think that ev­ery­thing should have been done yes­ter­day’’.

‘‘ In some cases there is nowhere you can place a tarp. There’s noth­ing to hold it there. We don’t have a magic wand. Some of them think we are not do­ing the job and that we are just walk­ing around do­ing noth­ing,’’ he said. ‘‘ I think the world of any­one who puts on the orange suit and goes out there and does it for noth­ing. Most of these peo­ple who come here to help have taken hol­i­days or time off from work to do it.’’

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