Devastated Grantham first to be rebuilt Navy demands end to booze culture win easter eggs
RECONSTRUCTION of Queensland’s disaster-hit communities will start with the devastated Lockyer Valley town of Grantham.
Premier Anna Bligh has told parliament she is fasttracking relocations and land swaps in Grantham by declaring it a reconstruction area.
She said this would bypass protracted approval processes usually required. ‘‘ Grantham is set to become the first reconstruction area declared under the powers of the Queensland Reconstruction Act,’’ Ms Bligh said yesterday. ‘‘ These powers will be used to accelerate voluntary relocations and voluntary land swaps so those who want to relocate to higher ground can do so.’’ She said there would be no compulsory relocations but those who wanted to move to higher ground could do so promptly. More than 100 homes and buildings were significantly damaged, including the complete destruction of 10 homes when a wall of water swept thorough Lockyer Valley, in January. ‘‘ Half of those affected have indicated they want to relocate to higher ground in Grantham,’’ Ms Bligh said.
Bligh NAVY chief Russ Crane has read the riot act to his sailors, threatening tough new measures unless the service changes its hard-drinking culture. The measures would include an alcohol ban and curfews during foreign port visits and mandatory breath tests. Anyone with reservations about the need for change should get on board or get out of the way, Vice Admiral Crane said. His stance was backed by Defence Minister Stephen Smith who said the findings of an inquiry into allegations of sexual misbehaviour aboard HMAS Success had created a terrible image of the navy. T h e i n q u i r y ’ s report, released i n F e b r u a r y , outlined a sordid tale of misbehaviour by a group of sailors d u r i n g t h e s upply s hip’s deployment to Southeast Asia in 2009.
Admiral Crane, in a video address shown across the navy yesterday, said misuse of alcohol was a common theme of the inquiry’s report and the navy wasn’t immune to the problem of binge drinking confronting the nation.
But the navy had to hold itself to a higher standard, he said, adding a hardhitting campaign highlighting the negative effects of alcohol and drug abuse would be introduced soon. Random breath testing was already in place, but the Success inquiry had pointed out deficiencies. ‘‘ I will be looking to improve our testing procedures in all RAN ships and establishments,’’ Admiral Crane said. ‘‘ If we need to test 100 per cent of our people, then this will be done.’’ Admiral Crane was blunt in flagging a complete alcohol ban or restrictions at some ports. ‘‘ This will occur if we do not change our drinking culture at every rank,’’ he said. The Success inquiry revealed that alcohol-fuelled activity had led to inappropriate behaviour directed at women and that would not be tolerated, Admiral Crane said.