Mulherin flies over to assess flood

DEPLOYED: Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin. file
DEPLOYED: Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin. file

PREMIER Anna Bligh has sent Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin to be her eye in the sky over the Emerald region today, as the State Government begins to assess flooding impacts.

Mr Mulherin will aerially survey flood-affected areas with AgForce president Brent Finlay before returning next week to talk with Highlands’ primary producers about the extent of damage to their properties.

“This is another blow to farming producers who have had a tough time and government agencies will do what they can to assist,” Premier Bligh said yesterday.

“At this stage, NDRRA assistance for primary producers and small business has not yet been activated, as the extent of infrastructure damage will not be clear until the water has receded and an assessment can be made.”

Ms Bligh declined an invitation to join Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson in touring flood-affected areas of his electorate, sending Mr Mulherin in her place.

“I have asked Premier Bligh to consider assisting primary producers by once again using the work-release prison program to assist in the clean-up,” Mr Johnson said.

“This has been very helpful on a previous occasion. Additionally, it would be excellent if she could find a way to assist producers through freight subsidies or low interest loans,” he said.

Mr Johnson said there had been severe impacts on farm infrastructure around the Comet River and Theresa Creek systems.

“Areas around Springsure and Rolleston were just starting to recover from the heavy rains in March and this will set them right back.”

Mr Johnson said the big wet had highlighted the need for extensive upgrading of the road network.

“While there will be millions of dollars of damage, the inconvenience to people and businesses caused by the extensive road and rail closures highlights what I have been repeatedly trying to get government to see, and that is that the Central Highlands urgently needs its road network upgraded.

“This is the money-engine of the state. If you want to keep the money coming in, then you have to invest in the infrastructure. The government is falling down on this job and leaving the people of the Central Highlands to carry the can.”

Mr Johnson said he urged everyone to take care on the roads as they reopen.

“Areas around Springsure and Rolleston were just starting to recover from the heavy rains in March and this will set them right back.”

Vaughan Johnson

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