02 March 2011

House giveaway for Goodna flood victim

THINGS are about to turn around drastically improve for one of the thousands of families across southeast Queensland who lost everything they owned in the devastating floods less than two months ago.

Operation Goodna is about to roll out again, but instead of delivering busloads of volunteers to help clean up houses and remove rubbish, this time a fully-furnished new home will arrive as part of a Gold Coast Bulletin and Pearls Australasia initiative.

Pearls Australasia, which owns Burleigh-based home-builder company Pearls MiiHome, contacted the paper wanting to help after reading about how the floods had impacted 8500 people in nearby Ipswich and ruined 3000 homes.

''This house donation will be a life-changer for whoever is involved,'' said Pearls Australasia executive director David Higgins.

''It will be like winning the lotto.''

Operation Goodna started in January when five busloads of Bulletin readers hit the devastated suburb's aid, prompting ongoing support for the ''adopted''Ipswich area ever since.

Mr Higgins said the offer of a new home had been driven by the company's chairman Nirmal Singh Bhangoo in India.

''We could have just given money to the flood appeal,'' he said.

''But we wanted to help a family directly and do what we do best  build homes.''

Mr Higgins said the house project, worth more than $200,000, would also keep Gold Coasters focused on assisting flood devastated areas like Ipswich during the long recovery that was ahead. There are hundreds of flooded homes still uninhabitable and rebuilding could take as long as two years.

Gold Coast Bulletin editor Dean Gould said the paper was ''very happy to be part of the project''.

''It is an extension of the outpouring of generosity that we have seen to our sister city from the Gold Coast since early January,'' he said.

''We saw the community spirit on the buses when people went to Goodna to help, then we saw it at the Jupiters fundraising concert and now we are seeing it with a company that wants to make a donation like this.''

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale described the initiative as ''absolutely fantastic''.

''This is the sort of action that gives people faith,'' he said.

''I would like to say thank you to everyone involved.''

Cr Pisasale said families in the area were struggling with the aftermath of the floods and hearing about the campaign would ''inspire them''.

Ipswich City Council will select the needy family in the next few weeks with the help of community groups.


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