28 February 2011

Mayors considering flood warning sirens as call is made to adopt a 1 to 5 flood alert system

Air-raid early warning sirens south of Wivenhoe Dam are being considered as part of a submission by southeast Queensland mayors to the state's flood inquiry.
The region's 10 mayors discussed the idea at a Council of Mayors meeting on Friday.
Somerset Regional Mayor Graeme Lehmann, who raised the proposal, said details were still to be worked out but the concept needed to be a priority.
"It's something that's very, very important," Cr Lehmann, whose council takes in Wivenhoe Dam, said.
"The last thing we want to see is people end up trapped and killed. We've got to work out the best way to get a warning out to people."
Scores of residents across southeast Queensland have complained that they received late or no warning of the devastating floods that swept through the region last month.
Cr Lehmann said SMS and email warnings failed in his council area because telecommunications went down.
"We send SMSes but when telecommunications are down that doesn't work and when somebody's not near their phone they don't hear it," he said.
"Maybe it's not only one type of warning, maybe there's going to be warnings a few different ways so that people can't miss it."
Cr Lehmann suggested the responsibility for a heightened warning system be with dam manager Seqwater because it had flood monitoring stations along waterways affected by Wivenhoe Dam.
He said it was quicker for the water body to distribute the warning direct to residents rather than sending the message along a chain of people to councils.
Cr Lehmann said the early warning system was among a raft of ideas discussed at the Council of Mayors meeting and the group would likely soon make a submission to the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.
Ipswich councillor Paul Tully, who has already lodged a submission, is calling for an Australia-wide flood warning system similar to the five categories defining tropical cyclones.
He says his community of Goodna was left to work out how far the water would rise because official warnings were based on a gauge in Brisbane.
"It would be easier for a member of the public to understand Einstein's Theory of Relativity than to decipher Queensland's flood alert system,'' Cr Tully wrote in his submission.

FlexiLink taxi service under fire in Ipswich

THE much-maligned FlexiLink taxi service has come under fire once again at a protest rally held in Ipswich on Saturday.

Resident Catherine Wood wants axed bus services returned.

THE much-maligned FlexiLink taxi service has come under fire once again at a protest rally held in Ipswich on Saturday.

Under former Transport Minister and Ipswich MP Rachel Nolan, bus routes 505, 510 and 523 were axed in December last year and replaced with a taxi service, FlexiLink, which in most cases has to be booked a day in advance.

A rally at the Ipswich Workers Club on Saturday was attended by about 80 people.

The meeting was chaired by retired Tivoli businessman John Turner, who said the FlexiLink service was failing residents.

"We are stuck with a new service which is totally unreliable," Mr Turner said.

"A lot of times they either turn up late or don't turn up at all, and then I have to turn to private taxis and pay full fare, which is hard when you are on the pension."

The 70-year-old said the government had looked at the economics and forgotten their obligation to the people they represented to provide them with a public transport service.

Among those also voicing their concerns was Basin Pocket resident Lyn Kelly. On Friday she had organised to be picked up at Riverlink, only to have her FlexiLink taxi go to Bell Street by mistake.

She said the error left her waiting for more than an hour, and it wasn't the first time she had been left waiting.

"When it was first introduced and there were hiccups they said it would be ironed out," Ms Kelly said.

"It has been three months and the problems have not been ironed out."

Save Our Buses spokeswoman Patricia Petersen said she was delighted so many pensioners were in attendance, however, extremely disappointed that others who wanted to attend couldn't because they didn't have access to public transport and couldn't afford to pay a taxi fare of around $100.

She said attendees had unanimously voted to not stop fighting for their buses and to storm Parliament House if they don't get the buses back.

Guest speaker, Queensland Party leader Aidan McLindon, said he viewed the axing of bus routes as a slap in the face of the community.

"At a time when so many people every week are moving to Queensland, they should be increasing public transport services, not decreasing them," he said.

New Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk told The Queensland Times last week that she would follow up on residents' complaints.

Ms Palaszczuk said FlexiLink was on trial and its effectiveness would be evaluated once the trial is over.

More Ipswich news:


Releases continue at Wivenhoe Dam

THE controlled release to draw down Wivenhoe Dam's drinking water compartment to 75 per cent is continuing.

The strategic release of water from Wivenhoe Dam is continuing. The Water Grid Manager says people need to be take note of change the release has caused.

THE controlled release to draw down Wivenhoe Dam's drinking water compartment to 75 per cent is continuing.

A spokesman for the Water Grid manager said the current release rate was 380 cubic metres per second, which was not expected to change for the next couple of days.

The strategy as announced last week is to improve flood mitigation as a precaution for the remainder of the wet season, subject to weather and further inflows.

The dam operators planned to release 25 per cent of the Wivenhoe's drinking-water capacity to mitigate against further flooding this year.

Twin Bridges, Savages Crossing and Colleges Crossing will likely be closed to all traffic during the Wivenhoe Dam release period.

Affected councils have been consulted on these impacts and alternative routes are in place for each of the closures.

These include Mt Crosby Weir, which is open as an alternative to Colleges Crossing, for local traffic only.

All non-local traffic is advised to use Mount Crosby Road, Warrego Highway and Ipswich Motorway.

See for any changes to road access or traffic conditions over this period.

Members of the public seeking information on potential impacts in their local areas should direct inquiries to their local council.

For the latest information on Seqwater lakes open to permitted recreation activities, always check the website -

Recreation users at all lakes need to remain vigilant for submerged hazards and debris in the lakes. Vessels should be operated in the safest possible manner.

Dam users are advised to consult the boating page of the Seqwater website for further details.

The Spillway Lookout recreation area will remain closed until further notice due to significant infrastructure damage.

O'Shea's Crossing, the Spillway Lookout and Billies Bay / Hays Landing recreation areas at Lake Wivenhoe remain closed until further notice.

O'Shea's Crossing recreation area was reopened on Saturday.

The access road to the Billies Bay/Hays Landing site has been closed by the Somerset Regional Council to enable inspection for damage on the bridge and road.

Access to Lake Wivenhoe is available via other recreation areas.

Cormorant Bay recreation area will be closed all day tomorrow so maintenance works can be performed.

Other recreation areas at Lake Wivenhoe, including Logan Inlet day use area will be open for public use tomorrow.

More local news:

Flood helpers at breaking point as Redbank volunteers threatened with stab attack

FLOOD-relief volunteers who have had members of the public threaten to stab them say they need professional help to deal with distraught disaster victims.

Volunteers Kerry Holloway and Kelli Smith (front) at the Redbank flood donation centre.

FLOOD-relief volunteers who have had members of the public threaten to stab them say they need professional help to deal with distraught disaster victims.

The dozen-plus volunteers at the Redbank School of Arts donations centre, which organises and hands out household items to flood-affected residents, said they were at breaking point.

The centre's staff have had to deal with an increasing number of irate clients demanding more items than they were given.

It has caused some of the site's younger volunteers to break down in tears.

Last Thursday a man who lost his house in the flood threatened to stab two volunteers after they denied some of his requests.

"He was threatening to bash us all and said he would come back with a knife. It was frightening and we didn't know how to deal with it," volunteer Kerry Holloway said.

Ms Holloway has worked at the centre part time while juggling work commitments.

"We have had a number of irate people come in. You can understand to a point why they're so quick to get angry," she said.

"I've been here for three weeks now, but I'm not capable of dealing with people who are mentally exhausted and aggressive."

The Redbank donation centre takes flood victims' details and a list of what they require and tries to respond to the list as best they can.

But rarely can they give the client all that they need.

The majority of volunteers at the centre have worked 10-hour days since the flood devastated south-east Queensland on January 12.

Another volunteer at the centre, Mitch Dodrill, said professional help was needed immediately.

"The worst part of the floods is yet to come," Mr Dodrill said.

"Some of our younger volunteers are not coping well, having to deal with people who have lost everything.

"There must be professional help assigned to a centre like ours.

"It's not good enough to rely on volunteers any more. There are problems we aren't trained to handle."

Federal MP Shayne Neumann said many flood victims were traumatised and needed their own help to deal with the emo- tion of losing their possessions.

"There are mentally distraught people out there who need help, and we have allocated funding for that very reason," Mr Neumann said.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the council was working with community distribution centres to meet the needs of flood-affected residents.

"I would like to thank all the volunteers for their hard work and doing such a fantastic job during such a stressful time," he said.

Federal MP for Oxley Bernie Ripoll said it was time for professional officers to help at relief sites, but the volunteers also needed to know when it was time to stop.

"There comes a time when normality must return to these people's lives," he said.

"My understanding is the Flood Recovery Authority is currently deciding how to distribute professional officers to help volunteers.

"The work done by these hard-working people has been extraordinary, but they should not be afraid to stop."

More flood stories:

Fire in empty Goodna house sparks inquiry

THE cause of a fire which broke out in a vacant house in Goodna on Saturday night is being investigated. 

THE cause of a fire which broke out in a vacant house in Goodna on Saturday night is being investigated.

Camira Fire Station Officer Ashley Jones said two crews had responded to the blaze in Queen Street about 6.40pm.

He said one of the crews had been turned back as they were not required.

Mr Jones said on arrival, firefighters found the top floor of the house alight.

The fire caused damage to one room of the house, with the rest of the property sustaining smoke and water damage.

A nearby neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said she had been inside painting her home when she had smelt the fire.

"I came running outside and saw the smoke," she said.

27 February 2011

Nursery Rhyme Shock: "Baa Baa Black Sheep" banned in Queensland

No more Black Sheep in North Queensland as political correctness overtakes commonsense.

BLACK sheep are on the endangered species list as some children in north Queensland learn to sing Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep.

The English nursery rhyme may have survived for 200-plus years but political correctness could finally put it out to pasture.

Some schools in Britain have banned the song for being racist, but Pelicans Innisfail Child Care allows children to sing about black sheep or rainbow sheep.

Director Pam McLaughlin said some teachers sang the changed lyrics, and some children already knew the changes.

"We just go with whatever the children want," Ms McLaughlin said.

"The kids are just singing and having fun. Some sing black sheep, some sing rainbow sheep. It's just a song.

"We don't have anything that says, 'You have to sing it this way'."

The BBC reported in 2000 that Birmingham City Council had banned the song for being racist. It was later overturned after a backlash from parents.

The council said it had obtained the guidelines, which stated: "The history behind the rhyme is very negative and also very offensive to black people, due to the fact that the rhyme originates from slavery".

Six years later in 2006, a nursery in Sutton Courtenay in Britain banned the nursery rhyme.

In other examples, the principal of a school in NSW last year adapted the lyrics from Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree so children would say how happy, rather than gay, his life must be.

In 2009 the Birmingham council took creative licence to change the ending of Humpty Dumpty from couldn't "put Humpty together again" to "made Humpty happy again".

Golliwog dolls have been taken off shelves because of racism concerns and passages have been removed from Enid Blyton books because of perceived homosexual undertones between Noddy and Big Ears.

Australian National University social psychologist Michael Platow said he doubted Baa Baa Black Sheep would teach racism.

"I don't know why a child would associate a black sheep with a black man," he said.

The Office of Early Childhood Education and Care associate director-General Zea Johnston said no direction had been given and centres were responsible for their own education programs.

Pelicans has indigenous and non-indigenous children, and recognises diversity. Children play with white dolls, darker-skinned dolls and dolls of both sexes.

Ms McLaughlin said she thought changing the lyrics was a bit confusing for children. "You can get a black sheep but you can't get a rainbow sheep."

QUEENSLAND CONSUMER WATCH COMMENT: Once in a while there is actually a black sheep born but nowhere can you get a rainbow-coloured sheep.  Pelicans Innisfail Child Care are acting like clowns in doctoring this 200-year old nursery rhyme.  They are indoctrinating our kids about a physical impossibility. They might be trying to put a little "colour" into the  centuries-old nursery rhyme but it is a "black" day for the Centre and for the children of Queensland when this form of petty censorship is allowed to happen.


House sales dip after floods as Augustine Heights records largest price surge in Ipswich's eastern suburbs

REAL estate agents in flood-affected areas like Ipswich are reporting that many sellers have withdrawn their properties from the market.

Australia had one of the strongest housing markets in the world during 2010, new research shows.

Real estate agents in flood-affected areas like Ipswich are reporting that many sellers have withdrawn their properties from the market, even if they were not directly affected by the floods.

REIQ chairman Pamela Bennett said yesterday the flood and cyclone crises had badly affected confidence levels in Queensland property sales across the board.

"Lenders have also reportedly further tightened their finance criteria, which is making it difficult for sales to occur," she said.

"It is important to remember as we move into this recovery phase that the vast majority of homes in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Cairns specifically were not affected by the recent natural disasters, and that the fundamentals that were in play at the end of 2010 remain."

The latest REIQ median house price report states that in 2010, Rosewood homes jumped 9 per cent in value to record a median price of $279,000.

Other suburbs to surge in house values during the year included Augustine Heights (8.4%), Springfield (5.7%) and Newtown (5.4%).

Dipping in price for the year were houses in Redbank Plains and North Booval, both at minus 4.8%.

Sale prices for houses on acreage continued to rise, 6% for the quarter and 4.2% for the year.

Ipswich CBD home sale prices dropped 12.2% in value over the quarter, with Silkstone recording another steep dive at minus 10.7%.

While there was no change in the quarterly median sale price, Ipswich dipped 0.6% per cent, from $320,000 to $318,000, for the year.

Highest quarterly rises were recorded in Brassall (27.5%), Goodna (18.8%) and North Ipswich (16.5%).

REIQ managing director Dan Molloy said the Queensland property market had experienced an easing of property prices directly following the floods of 1974.

"This had corrected itself within six to 12 months," Mr Molloy said.

"Given that fewer properties were impacted this year, and our population base is also much larger, the REIQ does not expect the impact this time to be as pronounced or as prolonged as it was back then."

26 February 2011

Goodna flood tragedy, now mum's missing in Christchurch NZ

MORE WORRY: Andrew and Penny Devine who lost everything in recent floods have also been unable to contact Andrew's mother Judith, who lives in a nursing home in Christchurch.
ONE of the few mementos Penny and Andrew Devine managed to salvage from their Goodna home after the Brisbane floods was a picture of his mother, Judith Devine.
That photo is more precious than ever as the 74-year-old is listed among the missing in Christchurch's earthquake.
It is believed she was evacuated from her aged care home on the city's eastside, but her family has not been able to trace her and fears the worst.
"No one knows where she could be," Mrs Devine said.
"I even called the police senior sergeant but he just doesn't know."
The New Zealand-born couple lost everything when floodwaters engulfed their Goodna duplex last month and now live in a friend's garage, furnished with a donated bed and borrowed essentials.
Mrs Devine said their insurance company was yet to determine if a payout would be granted.
 To make matters worse, the Devines are still awaiting flood relief payments from the Premier's Disaster Appeal fund.
"We've had to struggle and fight and make millions of phone calls to get anywhere," she said. "It shouldn't be so hard because we've been through enough already."
But there was good news amid the couple's recent run of bad luck, with Mrs Devine's three children aged 21, 19 and 17 phoning from Christchurch to reassure her that they had survived.
"It's unbelievable," she said.
"I've been watching the news and everything that I identify Christchurch with is gone.
"There's nothing recognisable left."

Cheers to new start for Rugby Union star Beau Robinson who works at Goodna's Irish Heart Hotel

Beau Robinson

SECOND CHANCE: Flanker Beau Robinson serves drinks at Peter Falvey's Irish Heart Hotel at Goodna.

THE NSW Waratahs reject out to prove a point against his old state tomorrow night is also honouring the life of his late brother with every minute he plays this season.

Shaggy-haired flanker Beau Robinson will play a key role for Queensland in Sydney when his busy, buzz-saw style is aimed at the sky blue jerseys he once wore.

While Sydney rugby circles were humming with word that Robinson would today be picked to start for the Reds, it still appears more likely he will stay in his role as second-half marauder off the bench behind starter Ed Quirk.

He is the closest thing that the Reds have to the on-ball threat of Waratahs skipper Phil Waugh, whose aim will be to slow the ball supply lines as Western Force ace David Pocock did last Sunday.

Either way, the flanker who was pouring beers as a barman yesterday at Goodna's Irish Heart Hotel is ready to perform.

"There is a fair bit of hype around any local derby but I just feel blessed to be getting a chance again at this level of footy," Robinson, 24, said.

"I came up to Queensland with no guarantees. My club Souths was great in finding me somewhere to live and a part-time job pulling beers so I could give it a shot."

His 19 minutes off the bench last weekend registered the first game of five he must play to advance from simply match fees to a full Super Rugby contract.

He filled in for the injured Waugh with NSW in 2007, tag-teamed with him in 2008 and trained with the squad in 2009, but the Waratahs had no longer-term plans.

Robinson knows all that Waugh puts in and the intensity that the Reds have to find for the overall pack battle.

"I was a young pup in the NSW squad back then. Phil is a real competitor and just consistent with all the little things he pays attention to," he said.

"I don't look at this match too much as a rivalry or just one person. It's pack against pack."

Robinson was devastated a year ago when his younger brother Dan, a promising young halfback with Super Rugby dreams of his own, was electrocuted in London when crossing train lines after a night out.

The brothers were to have linked up in Europe where Beau was playing in Italy.

Robinson now carries a tattoo of his brother into every metre he makes on the field.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie had no urge to reveal his team early and was happy to keep NSW guessing until today's announcement. "There are no secret plans but we have strong thoughts on how we are going to play this," he said.


New State Government flood maps reveal destruction of Ipswich and Goodna

IPSWICH people are among the first in Queensland to get a bird's eye view of the extent of the floods that ravaged the city.

The centre of Ipswich showing where the Bremer River left its normal course and invaded streets and homes.

IPSWICH people are among the first in Queensland to get a bird's eye view of the extent of the floods that ravaged the city.

The State Government is creating an online record of the flood devastation and Cyclone Yasi's path with aerial images across Queensland.

Premier Anna Bligh and Queensland Reconstruction Authority chairman Major General Mick Slater said the first series of maps covered more than 100 communities, with other maps to be released in coming weeks.

Ipswich, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Emerald, St George, Condamine, Goondiwindi and Surat are included in the first round of maps at from today.

"This interactive website contains real images of the damage caused by these natural disasters both from the air and on the ground," Ms Bligh said. "Queenslanders will be given free access to online maps showing the actual flood line for towns and cities affected by the floods.

"They will be able to type in their address, or the address of a loved one, and see where their property is located, in relation to the city or town flood line.

"To prepare for future events we need to do better than educated guesses, and this website can help make Queenslanders more prepared than ever."

25 February 2011

People of Goodna hard hit by newsagent closure: No paper deliveries for a month, as Gailes newsagent steps in to help

The Goodna Newsagency at St Ives Shopping Centre in Smiths Road was totally devastated by the flood of January 11.

It sits all forlorn in the middle of the shopping centre with nothing apparently happening to get it up and running, even though it is more than 6 weeks since the flood.

For over a month, the people of Goodna did not have any newspaper home deliveries.

Belatedly, Queensland Newspapers (QNP) has arranged for delivery of The Courier-Mail through the Gailes Newsagent but customers cannot open an account with the Gailes outlet.

Local residents are forced to open an online account with Queensland Newspapers.

Bad luck if you don't have ready access to a computer.

QNP is apparently blaming The Queensland Times for not offering the same service which is absolutely disgraceful as QNP has a stranglehold over newsagents via the ACCC.

The sooner the ACCC breaks the existing newsagent monopoly and cosy arrangements with large metropolitan publishers the better.

Australia: Goodna flood victims explain their plight

Australia: Goodna flood victims explain their plight

Paul Tully and Baby Chloe

Paul Tully plays with Baby Chloe - one
of Goodna's youngest flood victims.

Baby Chloe is not even one month old but she will be spending her foreseeable future in a caravan in the backyard of her flood-ravaged home in Goodna.

Like others, her parents are trying to restore a sense of normality to their lives which were abruptly changed forever on January 11.

The people of Goodna still need your help so that youngsters like Baby Chloe can grow up with a sense of normality and a happy future ahead of them.

Please help if you can.

Springfield's Fai Sami's family is safe in Christchurch

AFTER three days of frantic phone calls and sleepless nights, Springfield's Fai Sami finally received the news he had hoped for.

Rescue works on the collapsed Pyne Gould Guiness Building.

AFTER three days of frantic phone calls and sleepless nights, Springfield's Fai Sami finally received the news he had hoped for.

Sami made contact with his uncle Ioane in Christchurch yesterday, confirming he was safe.

Ioane had been reported missing, but it turns out he was simply isolated and without power in an area ravaged by the 6.3 earthquake that wrecked the picturesque New Zealand city and claimed 92 lives as of last night.

On Wednesday night Mr Sami said he was very concerned for his uncle, because his family had been able to contact all other family members living in Christchurch and confirm they were safe.

"I just hope he's okay. He's the only one we haven't got in contact with and a lot of people are worried for him," Sami said.

But yesterday the former Goodna Eagles IRL coach was a relieved man.

"We found him. He was just cut off in the middle of town," Sami said.

"He's fine thankfully."

Sami is a veteran rugby league coach in Ipswich.

He currently helms the Springfield Panthers' under 18 team and formerly coached the Goodna Eagles.

"Ioane lives right in town and had no power to call anyone," Sami said

"My uncles and aunties, their homes were damaged but they're okay and that's what matters."

There are thousands of expat Kiwis living in Ipswich, many of whom have loved ones in Christchurch.

The suburb of Goodna is home to 640 New Zealand-born residents.

Ipswich Jets duo TJ Fonoti and Trent Wallace are both awaiting news regarding their friends and family in the South Island city.

More NZ earthquate stories:

Ipswich company Specialised Security Service and its director-manager Peter Conroy fined $20,000 for underpaying workers

AN IPSWICH security company and its director have been fined more than $20,000 for underpaying workers.
Specialised Security Service Pty Ltd, based at Amberley, faced the Federal Magistrates Court in Brisbane charged with five breaches of workplace laws.
Federal Magistrate Michael Burnett fined the company $16,912.50 and its director-manager, Peter Conroy, an additional $3382.50 after Mr Conroy admitted the company underpaid 32 security officers a total of $46,205 between 2006 and 2008.
The employees were paid a flat rate of between $17 and $20 for all hours worked, resulting in underpayment of casual loadings, shift allowances and penalty rates for weekend, public holiday and overtime work.
The company has since rectified the underpayments.
Fair Work Ombudsman executive director Michael Campbell said an audit was conducted on Specialised Security Service in 2008 as part of a campaign targeting the security industry.

The week the flood came in 1974 : Historic reprint by The Queensland Times covering Ipswich and Goodna

LATE on the afternoon of Thursday, January 24, 1974 radio and television stations issued warnings that tropical cyclone Wanda had crossed the coast.

Residents took to boats and climbed on car bonnets
as the 1974 floods hit the Ipswich region.

LATE on the afternoon of Thursday, January 24, 1974 radio and television stations issued warnings that tropical cyclone Wanda had crossed the coast at Double Island Point.

At that stage it rated only a brief paragraph – possibly because many people had no idea where Double Island Point was – so most people in and around Ipswich went to bed that night blissfully unaware of any pending disaster.

But despite warnings next morning of floodwaters descending on our region, no-one could have predicted the four-day deluge that would be forever remembered as the 1974 Flood.


Friday January 25:

My first involvement was about 9pm on Friday, January 25 when I received a phone call at my home from my editor, Greg Stephenson.

He told me Bundamba Creek had burst its banks and 400 of our newsprint rolls were destroyed in our storeroom opposite Bundamba State School. He told me to meet him at the QT office and we would drive down together.

Our journey was brought to an abrupt stop at the Racehorse Hotel at Bundamba by a massive barrier of rapidly rising floodwater.

A policeman diverting traffic told us Goodna was a total disaster zone. It was decided I should travel there alone along the only access road through Tivoli via the Warrego Highway.

The scene that greeted me was muted chaos with hundreds of stunned and saturated evacuees, mostly women and children, some holding a few minor possessions, continually arriving in small fishing boats. They were ushered away by Civic Defence volunteers to shelter areas on higher ground.

I had only just begun to take my first photographs when a police sergeant asked if I could drive a man with a possibly broken arm back to Ipswich. After delivering my patient to hospital, I called in at the QT office just after midnight to discover Saturday's edition was printed early, meaning my photographs were not going to appear until the Monday edition. I had no other option than to reload my camera, get a dry notebook and a pen that could write in the wet and return to Goodna.

I arrived at 2am and got a lift in one of the last of the outgoing rescue boats, but my camera and flashgun got saturated so I returned to the empty QT building in the early light of Saturday for a quick change of clothes and equipment and to try and have 40 winks on the editor's lounge.

I soon discovered that trying to sleep in a newspaper office is impossible during an emergency.


Saturday January 26:

THE Bremer River in central Ipswich had risen to 12.2m by 9am and I returned to Goodna again. On one venture we were told that a bull was on the top balcony of the Royal Mail Hotel.


Sunday January 27:

ALMOST all of Ipswich's lower CBD was under water by midday. Local lads were making the best of it by canoeing around at rooftop level.

The west of the city was also seriously affected and the Avon Theatre and Leichhardt State School resembled refugee camps as families gathered for shelter.

I went upstream from One Mile Bridge to photograph the 1km expanse of water from the railway bridge at Sadliers Crossing.

While capturing the torrent I suddenly saw a large wooden house floating and spinning downstream towards me. I ran for my life, hearing behind me a deafening explosion as the building hit the side of the steel superstructure and disintegrated.

Meanwhile, reports filtered in about hundreds of people being evacuated from areas such as Gatton, Lowood and Toogoolawah.


Monday January 28:

QUEENSLAND Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen flew in by helicopter to Limestone Park that morning. He ordered restoration work to start as quickly as possible and began developing a scheme to help flood victims.


Tuesday January 29:

I WAS glad to receive an update that afternoon about the stranded bull on the veranda of the Royal Mail at Goodna. After the waters receded, people managed to get it down a flight of stairs before it retreated to safety.

On reflection, this terrible tragedy showed me what amazing strengths of character some people possess, especially those who can emerge from a quagmire of grief and destruction with a determination to move on.

The Queensland Times would like to thank Ipswich Library for its assistance with today's 1974 replica reprint.


Ipswich Flood Update: Two years of rubbish in two weeks in the aftermath of the flood

IPSWICH City Council says close to 50,000 tonnes of flood rubbish has been collected from in and around the city.

A mountain of flood debris piles up at the Thiess Waste
Management Facility in Swanbank after last month's floods in Ipswich.

IPSWICH City Council says close to 50,000 tonnes of flood rubbish has been collected from in and around the city.

That's roughly two years of rubbish in two weeks.

Councillor Trevor Nardi said council staff, Defence personnel and volunteers from near and far had worked constantly to clean up.

"We've picked up about 46,000 tonnes to date," Cr Nardi said yesterday. "The cut-off for ordering in the skip bins ends on Monday. By the time we pick all of them up we should have gone over the 50,000 tonne mark.

"That's about two years' normal supply of rubbish in two weeks.

"That's not including flood debris people took to the Riverview Transfer Station and to the dump of Rosewood."

He said if flood-affected people needed a skip bin after Monday, they should contact the council and they would be assessed "on a needs basis".

"About 70 skips were sent out into the community," he said.

"We had several hundred staff working on the flood clean-up.

"The bulk of the pick-up on the footpath has been cleaned up now.

Flood debris including people clothes, walls, anything that was ruined by the floodwaters, mostly went to the Swanbank dump.

One of the first steps in the council's flood clean-up was switching the garbage collection to nights because the dumps were too chaotic.

Even still, at Swanbank trucks filed in 24 hours a day, drove to the top of a garbage mountain and dumped rubbish.

Thousands and thousands of trucks repeated the process, creating a mass collection of the remnants of people's lives.

More flood stories:

MP calls to 'clean up Australia' around Ipswich's eastern suburbs

FEDERAL MP Bernie Ripoll is calling on everyone in the western corridor to join the thousands of volunteers across the nation pulling on cleaning gloves for the annual Clean Up Australia Day on Sunday, March 6.

"This annual event is a great opportunity for us as a community to reflect on how we can cut the amount of waste, improve recycling and re-use our waste," Mr Ripoll said.

"With more than 40 million tonnes of rubbish produced every year we need to work together as one big community to address the issue of waste.

"Recycling is one area in which there are new opportunities constantly emerging across the nation."

He said the Australian, state and territory governments were "leading the way through the National Waste Policy, setting the direction for managing waste and resource recovery over the next 10 years, and ensuring greater participation from all levels of government, business, industry and community".

"I encourage everyone in our local area to pitch in and get involved in Clean Up Australia Day and help protect our unique environment," he said.

To get involved in the 2011 Clean up Australia Day go to or call 1800 282 329.

Give FlexiLink a chance: Palaszczuk

NEW Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk says she will follow up on Ipswich residents' complaints about FlexiLink.

Michelle Radunz at the Browns Park rotunda where
bus users discussed the ongoing bus service issues.

NEW Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk says she will follow up on Ipswich residents' complaints about FlexiLink, the taxi service which replaced three axed bus routes.

Many affected residents claim the service is unreliable and will voice their concerns at a meeting tomorrow, with many wanting bus services reinstated.

Under former Transport Minister and Ipswich MP Rachel Nolan, routes 505, 510 and 523 were axed in December last year and replaced with a taxi service, which in most cases has to be booked a day in advance.

Ms Palaszczuk said FlexiLink was currently on trial and its effectiveness would be evaluated once the trial is over.

"I think it's only fair to give FlexiLink a chance before passing judgement. Certainly I'll be following up any complaint about extensive wait times with the service operators," she said in a statement.

One resident who says she has been badly affected by the changes is Vida Leane, 76, who lives in Vale St, Bundamba.

The war widow said she used to catch a bus from a shelter next door to her home, but as she now does not live in a FlexiLink zone has to walk more than 10 minutes to catch a bus from another stop.

Mrs Leane said she was able to live an outgoing lifestyle with the previous bus service, but since it has gone she has found it harder to go out as she pleases.

"I have to walk to and from the bus stop now, and when I do my grocery shopping I have to pull my trolley home," she said.

"I used to be able to catch the bus and be dropped off right outside my door, but I'm not in the FlexiLink zone. I just want the bus back – a lot of us do."

Bus campaigner Michelle Radunz said no improvements had been made to the service.

"People are still having problems with taxis running late, taxis not coming at all, and the drivers say they are having problems, too," she said.

The bus meeting will take place at 2pm tomorrow at the Ipswich Workers Club at 4 Bell St.

More local news:


V8 star Russell Ingall at Goodna Supercheap Auto reopening tomorrow

V8 SUPERCAR legend Russell Ingall will turn out to the Goodna Supercheap Auto store re-opening celebration tomorrow.
Floods in January wiped out stock from both the Goodna and Oxley Supercheap stores, with the damage bill reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Supercheap auto retail operations manager Kathleen Long said team members were astounded by the support shown from the community.
"We were overwhelmed by the selfless response from everyone involved and, as a direct result of the help received from locals as well as team members, within two days both stores were stripped out, cleaned and ready to be re-built," she said.
A free sausage sizzle and giveaways will say "thank-you" to helpers from 9am.
Supercheap Auto Goodna is at 12 Smiths Road.
More flood recovery stories:

Pair in court on Goodna looting charges

TWO people accused of looting an Ipswich hotel during the floods faced court, and a waiting media contingent, yesterday.

Kirryn Shane Lee Griffiths and Stacey Lee Bennett
leave Ipswich Court House. They are alleged to have
looted a hotel in Goodna.

TWO people accused of looting an Ipswich hotel during the floods faced court, and a waiting media contingent, yesterday.

Kirryn Shane Lee Griffiths, 19, and Stacey Lee Bennett, 17, allegedly stole alcohol from the flood-affected Weeroona Hotel at Goodna on January 13 before being stopped by police.

Joshua Ross Redding, 18, is also accused of looting the hotel on the day, but his appearance in court was excused yesterday.

Defence barrister Kevin Rose told Ipswich Magistrates Court Griffiths and Bennett were "likely to plead guilty", but they wanted to watch video footage of their alleged crime first.

"At this stage they take issue with some of the facts which makes the charge more serious," Mr Rose said.

"The evidence against them appears to be fairly strong – it is likely that they'll be pleading guilty."

Mr Rose said he would send police an email outlining the issues, but most of the concerns could be resolved by viewing video footage of the incident.

Griffiths and Bennett rushed out of the Ipswich courthouse yesterday after the brief hearing to be confronted by a large number of journalists, photographers and camera crews.

There was a scuffle as they walked away, with Griffiths seen pushing a cameraman.

He was heard to yell at media: "Why don't you tell the truth? Go away you (expletive) scumbags."

Griffiths and Bennett will next face court on March 17.

Defence lawyer Amanda Robinson appeared for Redding, who was not required in court yesterday, and adjourned his case to March 10 so he can seek further legal advice.

More flood stories:

24 February 2011

Brookwater Markets ripe for overhaul by Margaret Quinlan and Zanda Adrian-Walla

Dianne Avenell, Renee Hamilton with  Margaret Quinlan and Zanda Adrian-Walla.

Dianne Avenell, Renee Hamilton with Margaret Quinlan
and Zanda Adrian-Walla.

BROOKWATER Markets' new co-ordinators want to breathe new life into the bi-monthly event.

Market gurus Margaret Quinlan and Zanda Adrian-Walla were approached by Springfield Land Corporation to manage the markets last month.

The women, responsible for establishing and nurturing the Forest Lake markets, have already made a difference, increasing the number of stalls from 14 last month to 32 for this Sunday's family fun day.

``The Brookwater markets have great potential,'' Ms Quinlan, who established the Brunswick St markets, said. ``We love the location, and that's why we took it on. ``If you have a market in your local area you don't have to travel so far, and it's just a good thing.''

Mrs Adrian-Walla said markets were often the hub of a community.

Ms Quinlan said one of the key components of a good market was to service residents' needs.

She hoped to offer new stalls for food, plants and lifestyle products, and said the markets had the potential to draw more people to Brookwater.

Face painting, live entertainment and many other children's activities will be held as part of Sunday's family fun day.

There is still plenty of space for stall holders.

Phone 0418886400 or 0419827740.

Ipswich Motorway upgrade from Goodna to Dinmore causes business pain

THOUSANDS of commuters welcome the upgrade of the Ipswich Motorway from Dinmore to Goodna – apart from some who live or conduct a business right next to the construction.

CUT OFF: Brett Steele, with son Izzac, faces loss
of access for weeks.

THOUSANDS of commuters welcome the upgrade of the Ipswich Motorway from Dinmore to Goodna – apart from some who live or conduct a business right next to the construction.

Since September 2009, Aquatic Boat Transport owner Brett Steele has been inconvenienced by the roadworks.

When he bought his property on Brisbane Road in 2006, access from the motorway was easy, and the Goodna Bypass was due to go ahead.

With a change of government, the bypass was scrapped and the motorway upgrade went ahead.

For Mr Steele, the latest gripe in a long list is a loss of access from a service road off the motorway.

He was advised by the construction company that he may have "short interruptions" to business access at Hansells Parade.

On Thursday last week, that was changed to complete loss of access for three weeks.

"If it rains, it'll be longer," Mr Steele said.

"We've gone from four driveways to one.

"People trying to deliver the boats get lost along the alternative route.

"It's more stress than anything else."

To add insult to injury, his letterbox is stuck in the middle of the construction site.

Trucks also park in his only driveway when there's room on the construction site to load and unload.

"The extra kilometres we have to drive cost money," Mr Steele said. A Main Roads spokesman said a community engagement team had first contacted local residents and businesses – including Aquatic Boat Transport – about these planned works several months ago.

"The advice given was that roadworks would take approximately one month to complete and traffic controllers would be on site to ensure access to businesses and properties was maintained," he said.


Goodna Gleaners carried on unscathed

FLOODS may have decimated much of the area around it, but Goodna support service Gleaners Community House escaped largely unscathed.

Gleaners Community House Food Bank volunteers
Brett and Carolyn Swann are welcoming back those
in need in the Goodna area and surrounds.

FLOODS may have decimated much of the area around it, but Goodna support service Gleaners Community House escaped largely unscathed.

Gleaners vice president and Oasis Church Pastor Brett Swann said the Smiths Road building had miraculously evaded the ruin that had befallen St Ives Shopping Village next door.

But as a result of its proximity to the centre, they found people were unaware of their survival and that they were operating again as normal.

"People just assumed we went under," Mr Swann said.

"Even the owner of the building turned up to take pictures of the damage."

Mr Swann said Gleaners were able to offer assistance with cheap food, crisis food parcels, second-hand clothing and a place to connect to people and chat about the struggles they were facing.

The organisation has operated a food bank in the suburb for 10 years. Mr Swann said he expected demand for their services to ramp up as the crisis response wound down.

"What we would do in the past – if we had someone come to us who had been homeless and recently found a new house – is put the word out for furniture and other household items," he said.

"We are expecting that to increase as people re-enter the housing market."

He said the organisation extended its help to whoever needed it.

"We have never had a criteria for who we help," Mr Swann said.

"Even before the floods, we were seeing working families who couldn't afford to put food on the table. It is a class of working poor.

"Rents are expensive, utilities are expensive.

"We are there for everybody."

Gleaners are open from 9.30am to 12.30pm on Wednesday and 6pm to 8pm on Thursday.

For help, contact Oasis Church on 3282 0847.

More local flood news:

Queensland Times Special Reprint Edition Tomorrow: Memories of 1974 flooding back for Ipswich and Goodna

TO THOSE who weren't there it may be hard to believe, but 37 years before January's disaster, Ipswich was devastated by an even bigger flood.

A rare colour aerial photograph of the 1974 floods,
showing the heart of the city under water.


TO THOSE who weren't there it may be hard to believe, but 37 years before January's disaster, Ipswich was devastated by an even bigger flood.

Despite the loss of life, livelihood and property that has hit Ipswich again this year, the community's interest in the Queensland Times flood coverage has been overwhelming.

More than 30,000 copies of the QT 2011 flood pictorial have been purchased since it first went on sale last month.

Due to popular demand, and to give readers an idea of how this year's floods compared to those of 1974, the Queensland Times will include a 12-page 1974 floods liftout in tomorrow's edition.

The liftout is a reprint of the pictorial released shortly after flooding devastated Ipswich all those years ago.

The Bremer River rose to a height of 20.7 metres at the end of January, 1974 – more than a metre higher than it did last month – inundating about 2000 homes and properties and causing millions of dollars in damage.

Two deaths were attributed to the flooding which also affected residents, businesses and sporting clubs along creeks and gullies flowing into the river.

Areas of Ipswich affected by Brisbane River flooding, like Goodna, are included in the liftout.

 Local flood news:

23 February 2011

Ipswich flood appeal heads towards $1 million

THE Ipswich Flood Appeal has smashed through the $500,000 mark and is powering towards hitting $1 million soon.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale is flying to Sydney this morning to speak at a fundraiser alongside celebrities including former Wallaby and TV personality Chris "Buddha" Handy.
He will then return for another speaking engagement today in Brisbane.
Cr Pisasale said the appeal's "money in the bank" was $526,000 but still to be banked included $30,000 from the Brookwater golf day last week and $250,000 from last week's Italian Chamber of Commerce fundraiser in Sydney.
"The generosity of sponsors has been fantastic," said Cr Pisasale, who said other donations included 10 $2500 vouchers from Nick Scali Furniture and Caltex fuel cards.
"There are no cash donations from the Ipswich Flood Appeal.
"The cash will get converted into vouchers for local products and services."
Ipswich City Council has taken on the responsibility of coordinating offers of help, goods and services donated to flood-affected residents.
The council is collecting flood-affected people's personal details so it can collate data on flood damage and coordinate donations and services.
Details required include damage, whether the people have insurance, what help is needed and household items they need.
The forms, called Help Us Help You, are available at the council customer call centre in the Ipswich Mall, councillors' divisional offices and on the Ipswich City Council web site.
"It's very difficult to contact some people when they aren't in their house so we need friends and family who weren't affected to let them know," Cr Pisasale said.
"We don't care about means-testing; all we care about is the emotional healing. All we want is genuine people in need."
He said about 150 forms had been returned so far.
More flood stories:

Ipswich Motorway: Looking beyond electric vehicles

By Doug Harland
Current transport paradigms are no longer affordable or sustainable. Electrification of our urban transport system is urgently required, but we need to think beyond electric cars.
A comparison between Australia and two countries that have high quality infrastructure, namely Japan and Germany, highlights our great infrastructure delivery and maintenance challenge and this comparison is relevant to understand the uniqueness of Australia. Both Japan and Germany have about 5 per cent of Australia's area and seven times the population and neither are exposed to the damaging climate extremes existing in our sunburnt country. Australia is a very large country to service and produces many challenges.
Australia's taxation base provided by our small population is simply too small for the size of our country to adequately service the population's infrastructure expectations. With congestion in all cities increasing significantly, the result of population peak growth rates in excess of 300,000 per year, it will only get worse. In addition, Engineers Australia's infrastructure report card identified most infrastructure was 40 years old and needed hundreds of billions of dollars to bring it up to a quality standard – couple this with emerging climate change impacts, and the enormity of the challenge is sobering.
Consider Brisbane as a case in point. Although a genuine attempt is being made to ease congestion through major investment in road upgrades using current technology I can share two actual experiences that illustrate a major vulnerability.
I left the suburb of Oxley one morning at 6am for a flight at 8.30am, where in good conditions it is a 40-minute drive. I missed the plane. The $2.5 billion investment on 20km of the Ipswich motorway, and the $3 billion investment on 5km of Clem 7 tunnel were severely compromised by two people who had a bad day and caused an accident, one on the new Ipswich Motorway and one on the Gateway Motorway. Brisbane was gridlocked.
More than $2.5 billion has been invested in Bruce Highway upgrades, and significant works were recently completed between Brisbane and Caloundra. A drive from Caloundra to Brisbane can take one and a quarter hours, however at peak hour, in spite of recent upgrades, the journey becomes two to three hours as one idles along in the congested traffic – more if an accident occurs. Yet to meet unprecedented population growth a satellite city of 50,000 people by 2031 is being planned in the area adjacent to Caloundra, and the transport infrastructure challenges will be huge.
It is clear the electrification of our urban transport systems is urgently needed. But are we destined to have electric car congestion or is there a new paradigm for the future to provide a more sustainable urban transport system? Rail will provide some relief, but is not the total answer. What, then, is the solution?
Several solutions will present themselves: walking, cycling, Segway-type units and personal pod transporters, the latter in my view being the most promising and suited to all weather conditions and providing the most potential for fast, comfortable, low and renewable energy mass transport. Yes, the idea of a pod transporter needs research and development; however that research commitment needs to start now and that is the basis of this article.
Many now hold the view personal 'pod transporters' need to be developed as our next affordable  and sustainable urban transport solution. Imagine a comfortable capsule that seats two to eight people (similar to a cable car cabin) on an elevated track, weighing less than one tonne, stationed within twenty minutes' walk from your home that can have its destination dialled in and travel at 100 kilometres per hour with no intersections to your destination. A consortium involving NASA is one that is looking at a 240km/h sky train. The publically-owned pod is always available so timetables become a thing of the past. While the Skytran concept still has intersections and relies on intelligent systems to bypass congestion, the ability to change to alternate loop tracks at high speed with no intersections would be preferable.
The equivalent of about two months' expenditure on a tunnel project would pay for the factory to manufacture pods for the Australian market, another two months' expenditure would pay for the factory to build the drive motors, and the standard monorail sections made from steel or concrete could be made in a factory requiring a similar investment.
Manufacturing the comparatively lightweight standardised track and support column sections indoors in all weather and under repetitive factory conditions would provide huge financial savings compared to the current site-based technology solutions, as well as many jobs. Think of the kilometres of track that could be made for one month's expenditure on an elevated freeway or tunnel.
In comparing the manufacture of a pod to a car, the embodied energy and material savings are enormous, as it would be long-lasting public infrastructure and it would not require a new design every few years. It could operate on renewable grid-based energy with far less energy consumed per kilometre per tonne. Skytran states it would be equivalent to a car achieving 200mpg. It is a great alternative to meet the emerging peak oil challenge.
The track would also have low maintenance costs compared to road and rail that is subject to soil instability and related movement, again providing a significant economic benefit. The track can be multi-layered to provide additional capacity.
The footprint would be small and existing transport corridors could be used. City streets would only be required for construction, maintenance and delivery vehicles and many could have half the sealed area converted to green space.
Capacities to move more than 40,000 people per hour are estimated as achievable. While it still an idea in its gestation period, it urgently needs a consortium to be formed with relatively modest funding to work with design faculties of universities to simulate it for a city in virtual reality, to identify the many challenges that inevitably arise with a new technology and determine the solutions to each. I acknowledge retired engineer Brian Garsden who stimulated my thinking about  the possibility through his enthusiasm and his book Goodbye Gridlock. We have to find a better and more affordable urban transport solution that is sustainable. To me, personal transporters are a real, practical option for the future and are in urgent need of research and development.

The Bank of Queensland at St Ives Goodna has re-opened for business

CK Computers at St Ives Goodna is back trading after the recent flood

Tradesmen needed for Ipswich and Goodna flood work

AN ARMY of up and coming tradesmen will boost local flood recovery efforts if enough funding can be secured.

Brandon Wheeler can start a trade
due to an increase in work after the flood.

AN ARMY of up and coming tradesmen will boost local flood recovery efforts if enough funding can be secured.

Labour Solutions Australia accounts manager Joel Gordon said he was trying to secure funding from the Premier's Flood Appeal to pay for tradesmen to start work on flood-devastated homes in Ipswich.

The labour hire company is awaiting the green light from Ipswich City Council and, if it is allowed to go ahead, will concentrate on the worst hit home owners who were not covered by insurance.

"We have a lot of tradesmen on our books who are looking for work," Mr Gordon said.

"What we want to do is work in conjunction with Ipswich City Council and Lockyer Valley Regional Council to identify projects and get people on the ground to start fixing homes – using as many local apprentices as we can."

Mr Gordon said the bulk of the project would be covered by public and private funding, with a limited budget needed across affected residences.

"The model I have developed provides an opportunity to achieve this target as well as incorporate local training groups, small business and local tradespeople to get involved and takes some good from what has been a hard few months for a lot of us," he said.

Labour Solutions Australia will visit Ipswich in the near future to call on people to register with the rebuilding effort.

"We are well on the way to doing this – all we need is for Ipswich city Council to embrace the idea," Mr Gordon said.

Apprenticeships Queensland recruitment director Anita Dwyer said the flood disaster could have a silver lining for apprentices, but it would require proper organisation and supervision.

Ms Dwyer said there was plenty of flood recovery work to give apprentices a start, but the biggest hurdle would be finding someone willing to take them on.

More flood stories:

Teenagers stole grog from Irish Heart Hotel at Goodna

TEENAGERS who stole 11-and-a-half cartons of alcohol from an Ipswich bottleshop using a wheelie bin have been given good behaviour bonds.
Jimmy Frederick Hill, 17, and a juvenile smashed a window to gain entry to Goodna's Irish Heart Hotel bottleshop about 2.44am on January 11.
They found a wheelie bin belonging to the hotel and loaded it with 288 cans of pre-mixed bourbon and coke, or 11-and-a-half cartons, which had been displayed in the front window.
Ipswich Magistrates Court heard they took the stolen alcohol back to a house where Ryan Bengree, 19, was waiting.
A witness spotted the group and police arrived a short time later to arrest them.
Bengree locked himself in a garage with the stolen alcohol and Hill was caught running from the St Ives Shopping Centre at Goodna.
Hill refused to answer any more questions halfway through his interview with police but Bengree admitted receiving the stolen bourbon drinks.
Prosecutor Sergeant Jo Colston said Bengree "knows they're in possession of that alcohol when he locks himself in that garage".
The property was returned to the hotel's bottle shop undamaged but the window cost $262 to repair.
Hill pleaded guilty to entering a premises and committing an indictable offence and Bengree pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property.
They were both put on $500 good behaviour bonds for six months with no conviction recorded.
Magistrate Michael Quinn ordered the pair to pay $87 restitution each to fix the smashed window at the bottle shop.
The juvenile was dealt with in court at a different time.
Defence lawyer Matthew Fairclough said his clients were both relatively co-operative with police, young and had no previous history.
"Your Honour might take this as a bit of youthful stupidity rather than anything else," Mr Fairclough said.
Mr Quinn said the teens had committed a very serious criminal offence.
"It's certainly stupid," Mr Quinn said.
More court reports:

22 February 2011

Sun Hot Bread Shop has re-opened at Goodna

The Sun Hot Bread Shop in Queen Street Goodna has re-opened for business following the devastating floods of 11-13 January 2011.

The Bank of Queensland is opening very shortly at St Ives Shopping Centre Goodna.

Pizza Hut Goodna - Thank You Special this Saturday


Last minute work should see the Pizza Hut at Goodna re-opening this evening

Anger mounts as NRMA rejects 'sunny day' flood claims as CGU plans to reject all flood claims

ONGOING BATTLE: Vivienne Chavez, wife of Chester Chavez,
is planning a campaign against NRMA insurance after being
knocked back for being victims of "sunny day flooding".

INSURER NRMA has told hundreds of anxious policy holders in southeast Queensland their claims for flood damage will not be honoured because they were victims of "sunny day flooding".

NRMA, which provides cover for riverine flood in NSW but not in Queensland, has been calling flood victims to tell them the bad news after late last week receiving a hydrology report for the whole of the Brisbane and Bremer river catchments.

The report, by engineering company WorleyParsons, has ruled out flash flooding for all but a handful of properties - where NRMA said it would send hydrologists for a closer inspection.

"We've assessed every claim that was made," an NRMA spokeswoman said.

"About 90 per cent have been given a decision. Declines are in the smaller portion."

The spokeswoman said the company had received an "overarching" hydrology report that showed that damage in the two catchments was "as a result of sunny-day flooding ... ie not as a result of stormwater damage".

Flood victim Chester Chavez, of Indooroopilly, received a phone call from NRMA on Friday denying his claim. Mr Chavez said there was about $100,000 worth of damage to his house and possessions caused during the floods. He and his wife earn too much to qualify for the Premier's Disaster Relief payments.

"We got $2340 and that's all we stand to get," he said.

"We haven't fallen through the cracks. I wouldn't call it that. I would say the Grand Canyon."

Mr Chavez now plans to campaign for a boycott of the company and to ask people to consider withdrawing their support for the Brisbane Broncos, who landed a three-year, multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with NRMA in October.

NRMA received more than 3000 claims as a result of the floods. It refuses to disclose their dollar value or how many it has agreed to pay.

"We are trying to look to pay as many claims as possible under the policies." the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, RACQ, NAB and CommInsure have all set aside millions of dollars to make "ex-gratia" payments to policy holders who find themselves with inadequate or no cover after the floods.

NRMA's sister company CGU on Friday was the target of a demonstration by angry flood victims from west of Brisbane, who called for it to make a similar move.

CGU is expected to give its response on Tuesday but in a statement on Monday, it said: "Claims where the cause of damage is found to be flood will be rejected."

More flood news:

COMMENT: If NRMA Insurance thinks it can abandon people with legal technicalities
over "Sunny Day" flood claims, maybe we should all give NRMA a bright "cheerio"
out of the insurance industry once and for all!



Storms batter Ipswich region

A FAST-moving storm saw Ipswich's bright blue sky turn black yesterday afternoon, bring rain, lightning and strong winds.
The storm hit Ipswich shortly after 3pm.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued warnings that the storm cell could bring damaging winds, very heavy rainfall, flash flooding and large hailstones.
On Ipswich's border, thunderstorms produced very heavy rainfall at Wacol, with 85mm falling in an hour and 70mm in just 30 minutes.
The Ipswich Motorway experienced delays in both directions at Goodna, Redbank and Gailes shortly after 4pm due to the storm.
Energex reported power outages in the Lockyer Valley, with almost 4000 properties blacked out at 4.30pm.
The storm brought a cool change to the city, after temperatures were a sweltering 35C at 1pm.
By 2.46pm it had dropped to 24.7C and stayed in the low 20s for most of the afternoon. A second wave of storms brought torrential rains to the region close to 5pm.
By 6.30pm about 17,000 homes and businesses in Ipswich surrounds, covering an area from Rosewood to Wacol, had lost power due to lightning strikes.
More local news:

21 February 2011

Bureau of Meteorology: Minor flooding along Woogaroo Creek

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology


Issued at 8:47 PM on Monday the 21st of February 2011 by the Bureau of Meteorology, Brisbane.

Heavy rainfall associated with thunderstorm activity has caused fast rises in rivers and creeks from Bundaberg to the NSW border. Rainfall is continuing this evening with further fast rises likely where rainfall occurs.

Some minor flood levels are likely along the Bremer river overnight and during Tuesday.

Minor flooding is occurring along:

Burpengary Creek
Stable Swamp Creek
Woogaroo Creek

The heaviest rainfall totals in the 12 hours to 9pm include; Wacol 137mm, Mitchelton 98mm, Amberley 62mm, Dayboro 76mm, Croftby 89mm and Maclean Bridge 66mm.

Next Issue:
The next warning will be issued at 9am Tuesday or before is required.

Operation Goodna Bounceback: Subway re-opens

The Subway Store in St Ives Shopping Centre is open for business.


Operation Goodna Bounceback: Super Cheap Auto

Super Cheap Auto in Smiths Rd is up and running after last month's devastating food.

IGS has proud history

THE gaps in the history of Queensland's oldest secondary school are gradually being filled.

Sophie Church invites Ipswich Grammar School's Old Boys to tell their school tales.

THE gaps in the history of Queensland's oldest secondary school are gradually being filled.

Ipswich Grammar School (IGS) commissioned historian Sophie Church last May to research more of its history for a book to be launched during its 150-year celebrations in 2013.

"This school is significant to so many people," Mrs Church said.

"I'm looking at themes, like boys' impressions of coming to the school.

"Hopefully they'll make the book more readable, immediate and bring it to life.

"I've done up a questionnaire that I've sent out."

Mrs Church said IGS pioneered education in Queensland.

"The school was ahead of its time in a number of ways," she said.

"Maths and science was the focus of education.

"I spoke to a 96-year-old who hated being here, but he thinks now that it was the best thing that ever happened to him and he holds the school in high regard.

"He was in bomber command. A lot of IGS boys were in the RAAF."

Top achievers among the Old Boys and staff include John Coates, former chief of the Australian Army, and former Premier and Chief Justice of Queensland, Sir Samuel Griffith, who applied for the headmastership in 1863 at the age of 18.

"The book will be a compre- hensive account of the school's 150-year history with a focus on eyewitness accounts drawn from interviews with Old Boys, comments in school magazines and early archival documents," Mrs Church said.

IGS has grown from an enrolment of 16 students in 1863 to 1170 today.

Contributors wanting to share memories, memorabilia or documents should contact Mrs Church on 3813 9600 or email


Old boy Sydney Jones was a member of Mawson's 1912 Antarctic expedition.

The school tower was used as a spotting post for enemy aircraft during WWII.

More local Ipswich News:

Flood recovery day at Goodna a great success

THE efforts of emergency services, defence personnel and volunteers were recognised yesterday at a free Goodna event.

Enjoying themselves at the Goodna Flood Recovery Centre Concert
and Barbecue were Department of Communities staff, from left, Wladisiw
Mirecki, Brooke Winters, and Deb Meier.

THE efforts of emergency services, defence personnel and volunteers were recognised yesterday at a free Goodna event.

Families from the surrounding areas who went to the Goodna Flood Recovery Centre barbecue at the weekend were treated with a free barbecue, fireworks, rides and entertainment.

The concert was organised to say thank you to everyone who gave a helping hand to those affected by recent floods through Ipswich and the Centenary suburbs.

A memorial plaque was laid in the Goodna Walk of Fame, established during last year's Jacaranda Festival, in honour of all those who volunteered during the floods.

Ipswich City Council Division 2 Councillor Paul Tully said volunteers and flood-affected residents relished the opportunity to get out and have some fun.

"I saw a lot of people dancing and singing, and it's probably the first opportunity a lot of people have had to wind down," Cr Tully said.

"There's been 40 days since the flood today."

Cr Tully said the generosity and courage of local volunteers, church and community groups during the floods was inspiring.

Cr Tully said the memorial plaque laid on the footpath opposite the Goodna RSL would be a permanent reminder of the efforts of Australian volunteers, emergency services workers and the defence force.

"I presented the plaque to the Mayor and to Bernie Ripoll to recognise all of the volunteers of the 2011 floods," he said.

Hundreds of people attended the free community event into the early evening and were entertained by a tribute concert including the Australian Army Band, the Wolverines, Normie Rowe and Rhonda Burchmore.

All the entertainment and food for the day was donated by local and national businesses.

More flood stories:


Two rail stations to be built for Springfield and Springfield Lakes

SPRINGFIELD Lakes will have a train station within two years, at a saving of $171 million, as part of the Richlands to Springfield rail project.
The project, which was contracted to TrackStar Alliance after a competitive tendering process, is expected to be built at a cost of $475 million.
In June 2010, The Queensland Times exclusively revealed the Springfield rail line would be delivered two years ahead of schedule in 2013, and it was first budgeted at $646 million.
Premier Anna Bligh said two railway stations would now be built – one at Springfield opposite the Orion Shopping Centre and the other at Springfield Lakes, near Woodcrest College – in addition to 9.5 kilometres of track.
State Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller said the announcement of a Springfield Lakes train station, in addition to the originally planned Springfield station, was great news for residents.
"It's been something I've been working on for some time after consulting the community and assessing their needs," Mrs Miller said.
Ms Bligh said the new rail line could potentially take 2500 cars off the Centenary Highway, with the rail trip between Springfield and Brisbane taking about 40 minutes.
The project will include an auxiliary city-bound lane on the Centenary Highway between Springfield Parkway and Johnson Road and two crossings under the Centenary Highway from Springfield station to the Orion Shopping Centre.
A dedicated pedestrian and cycle path will connect Richlands to Springfield and there will be 100 park 'n' ride spaces at Springfield and 200 at Springfield Lakes.
Ipswich City Council Division 1 Councillor David Morrison has been campaigning for a Springfield Lakes train station for about four years and said the announcement was fantastic.
Cr Morrison said the station at Springfield Lakes would probably be busier than the one at Springfield Central for about four to five years.
"Obviously in years to come high-rise residential areas will be built down near Springfield Central and that will become a busier station," Cr Morrison said.
Springfield Land Corporation chairman Maha Sinnathamby said the train station would be a huge benefit to the region which was planned to accommodate up to half a million in the next 30 years.
"I have to applaud the Premier for her visionary approach and for her very strong leadership in this," Mr Sinnathamby said.
"It is a huge opportunity for decentralisation from Brisbane."
Rail Back on Track spokesman Robert Dow said he was delighted by the announcement of a Springfield Lakes station.
"The railway line to Richlands is already a big success," Mr Dow said.
"It is important that we lay down rail infrastructure now for a sustainable transport future."

Channel 7 News Flashback to 1995