THE new year has arrived and changed so many lives

PROUD: Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson. file
PROUD: Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson. file

THE new year has arrived and changed so many lives.

Who could have believed that 75 per cent of our great state would be under water?

Dealing with flood issues across Gregory has been one thing. Watching in horror, the tragic events in Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley is quite another.

For so many Queenslanders, life has dramatically changed. Here in Gregory, the initial clean-up has been undertaken brilliantly.

Now we must practise patience while the difficult rebuilding phase unfolds.

We should comfort each other, for we are all survivors. Now we must house the homeless, console the grieving, cheer up the downhearted and lend each other a hand.

This is not the time for negativity. We must keep our chins up and walk in the spirit of mateship.

Importantly, we must get our economic infrastructure running again so Gregory’s enormous financial contribution can assist the state in this time of need.

I have heard wonderful stories from the floods in Gregory; stories of heroism and kindness that make me so proud to be your representative.

I must publicly commend Mayor Peter Maguire, Mayor Rob Chandler, the Central Highlands and Barcaldine regional councils for their preparedness and their tireless efforts.

I must also publicly congratulate the Premier of Queensland, Hon Anna Bligh, on her efforts in Gregory and across the state.

I thank her team at the State Emergency Management HQ which has performed brilliantly. Lastly, but certainly not least, my sincerest thanks to those people on the ground here - our emergency services personnel, including the SES, the medical community, fire and ambulance services, police and military personnel for their outstanding service during this crucial time.

These efforts should be legendary as they brought our region through the crisis in much better shape than many other centres.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Major General Mick Slater while touring Gregory and he was astonished at the degree of recovery that we accomplished so quickly. He felt that said so much about our communities.

Of course there is still hard work ahead. Our roads and rail are a mess. Farm infrastructure has gone. The majority of our mines are flooded. People are still wading through insurance and rebuilding issues and supply lines are tight. Even schools and child-care centres have been affected. However, we will get through this and we must remember we are not alone.

All three tiers of government will stand shoulder to shoulder with us.

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