‘ Clowns’ abuse workers
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.’’