Dev­as­tated Gran­tham first to be re­built Navy de­mands end to booze cul­ture win easter eggs

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today -

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.


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