Topics: Flooding in SE Qld and Northern NSW
NEIL BREEN: Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews joins us on a Wednesday, but she’s joining us today really, as the member for McPherson on the Gold Coast. And McPherson pretty much goes from that Broadbeach Waters, Mermaid Waters area all the way down out of the border, takes in Tallebudgera Valley, Tallebudgera, Currumbin Waters, Mudgeeraba. And that area has been hammered. Karen Andrews, good morning to you.
KAREN ANDREWS: Good morning, Neil. How are you?
NEIL BREEN: I’m well, thanks. How’s your electorate fairing?
KAREN ANDREWS: Well, parts of it are okay, but parts of it have been really hard hit. Particularly as you get closer to the border, Elanora, Tallebudgera Valley, Currumbin Valley have been really quite significantly affected. So we’re back at the levels, if not beyond, what we saw with Tropical Cyclone Debbie a few years ago. It’s pretty unpleasant for those people and very devastating, heartbreaking.
NEIL BREEN: Look, there’s been so much happening in Southeast Queensland, but a few of the things are vivid in my mind, like seeing a cow on the beach at Duranbah is one thing, but the scenes I saw in Elanora, I think it was on Monday when the rain bomb really hit. I’ve never seen anything like that, suburban streets just being just washed away.
KAREN ANDREWS: No, Elanora was very hard hit and that hasn’t always been the case. Yes, they’ve been affected by water in the past where we’ve had heavy rain, but nothing like we saw earlier this week. So it’s devastating for those people. There’s still a lot of water around that area. The M1 was actually cut and I haven’t seen that before. So it’s pretty significant what was happening down there around the M1, but particularly around Elanora. And then as you get out into Currumbin and Tallebudgera Valleys now, they’ve been affected before. The water comes up very fast in those areas. So they’ve been extensively damaged yet again. It’s been absolutely devastating for so many people here on the coast.
NEIL BREEN: It sure has. And the gentleman died in your electorate, which was very sad. I’m surprised more people haven’t died in this flood event. Karen Andrews, like nine, when you see what happened out there, the ferocity of the water, I think it shows that Queenslanders know what to do when it buckets down.
KAREN ANDREWS: Absolutely. And people have been staying at home. They’ve been following the advice. Unfortunately, some people have had to be out in this appalling weather. But, yes, it’s just luck, quite frankly, that we haven’t seen more injuries and fatalities.
NEIL BREEN: One of the things that a theme that’s coming up today as we start the recovery phase is the emergency management meetings. I know you were in them with the Prime Minister. I hope you don’t get Covid, by the way, Karen Andrews, because he has come down with Covid now. But best of luck to you there. But the emergency payments of $1,000, some people are having frustrations. Just how can people access the money?
KAREN ANDREWS: The quickest way to access the money is to go in through myGov. That’s the fastest way to –
NEIL BREEN: You’ve got to get a myGov account. People who are listening. If you don’t have a myGov account, just get it sorted. Doesn’t take that long. Sorry. Keep going Minister.
KAREN ANDREWS: They do need to have a myGov account, so I would encourage everyone to who doesn’t have one to do that. But going through the myGov account is the best and the fastest way to be able to do it. Services Australia are pretty much working around the clock to make sure that they can get the payments out as quickly as they can. So that’s a good thing. So we’ll keep working, keep working there. We need to make sure that we are getting the money out quickly to people. But the other thing is that the community has certainly stepped up significantly and a lot of people are putting their hands up to help with the clean up, which is another important part. So, yes, it’s very important that as a Federal Government, we get money out to these people quickly. That’s happening.
But I’d say to the community, don’t forget about these people who have been affected. Just because the rain has stopped here at the moment. It will take a long time for them to recover and get back up on their feet. Whether it’s the residents or whether it’s the business owners.
NEIL BREEN: Exactly right Karen Andrews. Look, I didn’t even have time to get to Ukraine today. Isn’t that amazing to think we’re going through such an event? I couldn’t ask the Home Affairs Minister about a war that’s going on in Europe and where we’ve sent some artillery to help out those people. Not troops, but we sent some artillery. But we can catch up with you again later in the week, Karen, and just talk to you a couple of times this week. There’s so much happening. Thanks so much for your time.
KAREN ANDREWS: Absolutely. Take care.
NEIL BREEN: There she is. The Home Affairs Minister for this week. She’s tied up mainly as the member for McPherson because that’s a big electorate and I can tell you, you look at a map of that electorate. It got hammered.