Cyclone Marcia could not destroy our fighting CQ spirit
IT WAS only a matter of days after the electoral commission declared the result of the election in Keppel that the cyclone hit.
I was at Parliamentary Inductions in Brisbane when the cyclone formed, so I sought leave from the Clerk of the Parliament and was on the next flight home.
I was in constant liaison with Mayor of Livingstone Shire Bill Ludwig and Rockhampton Regional Council's Mayor Margaret Strelow and Deputy Mayor Tony Williams about how I could help and act as a conduit between local and State governments where they needed me.
It's been over a month now since Marcia hit. I have travelled across the electorate with RRC and LSC, visiting people in Frenchville, Norman Gardens, Koongal, Nerimbera, Stockyard Point, Emu Park, Mount Chalmers, Cawarral, Coowonga, Woodbury, Byfield, The Caves, Etna Creek and Yeppoon.
She blew off roofs, destroyed homes and businesses, but I know from talking to people across the region that one thing is for certain - Marcia did not destroy our fighting Central Queensland spirit!
I have listened to some heartbreaking stories, but also lots of heart-warming stories.
I think about Cindel, an SES volunteer who I met one afternoon in the days after the cyclone.
Both Cindel and her husband had been working for days on the recovery and had not seen their young daughter for days - Cindel's mum was looking after her.
Cindel's uniform was so dirty and she hadn't slept properly for days - she had been doing some really hard yakka helping in our community.
The next time I saw Cindel was a few days later, but this time she was wearing a Queensland police uniform!
"I wear a couple of different hats," she told me.
Cindel works for the police and, in her time off, she is a volunteer with the SES. Amazing!
I would like to say thank you to everyone who played a role in the recovery after Marcia. In particular:
- The 900+ Ergon and Energex workers from around the state who worked tirelessly to restore power to our region in record time;
- The doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who worked around the clock in our hospitals and practices;
- The volunteers - the SES and Rural Fire Brigades around the region (many of whom also came from around the state) who volunteered to help and gave up their time away from cleaning up their own homes and helping their own families to assist our community;
- Mayor Margaret Strelow, Deputy Mayor Tony Williams and all of the Rockhampton Regional Council councillors and staff; in particular those who serve on the RRC Local Disaster Management Group;
- Mayor Bill Ludwig, Deputy Mayor Graham Scott and all of the Livingstone Shire Council councillors and staff, in particular those who serve on the LSC Local Disaster Management Group;
- The Palaszczuk Government - Premier Palaszczuk and many State Government Ministers who visited the region multiple times during the recovery.
Thank you to you and all of your staff for your assistance and urgent attention given to matters when I raised them with you; and to you, the local people who went out and helped their neighbours, the elderly and the disabled.
I have heard stories from right across the region of generosity, caring for each other and lending a hand. Absolutely brilliant.