In Fire & Rescue

Natasha Griggs MHR for Solomon

Open RAAF Houses To Queensland Flood

Victor P Taffa

Member for Solomon, Natasha Griggs, has called for the Commonwealth to use the empty homes at RAAF Base Darwin to house people displaced by the Queensland floods.

Ms. Griggs said there are at least 150 empty residences at Eaton that could be used as emergency accommodation for families with children while they wait for their homes to be re-built after the devastating floods.

“I have written to Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Defence Science and Personnel Minister Warren Snowdon requesting the houses be made available.” Ms. Griggs said.

“It would take very little effort to make many of these empty houses ready for use as temporary accommodation.”

“Many of them have been empty for some time and despite committing to return some of these houses to the Homefind Website, there has been little urgency in fulfilling this commitment.” Ms. Griggs said.

“Opening up the RAAF homes would be a great relief to families whose houses require extensive repairs or rebuilding and that aren’t habitable in the short to medium term.”

“While many people may choose to stay near their communities, others may want the security of a roof over their heads while they wait to return home.” Ms. Griggs said.

“Arrangements could be put in place for relocated children to attend local schools and medical and short-term welfare services could also be co-ordinated out of Darwin.”

“The floods are not just a Queensland crisis, they are a national one and as a result, a nationally co-ordinated response is required.” Ms. Griggs said.

“The Territory, through the RAAF houses, is in a position to make a significant contribution to addressing housing shortages as a result of the flood.”

“Australians opened their hearts to the Territory after Cyclone Tracy and the Katherine floods. This is a Sensible, Practical Way for the Territory to lend a hand.” Ms. Griggs said.

When Cyclone Tracy destroyed Darwin in 1974 then Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was touring the Greek Ruins and Deputy Prime Minister Lance Barnard organised Major-General Alan Stretton to oversee the Disaster Relief Operation.

As The Northern Territory was and still is administered by the Federal Government the complete evacuation of Darwin was not only necessary but able to occur under the leadership of Major-General Stretton.

While Statehood for The Northern Territory will allow for Real Economic Advancement the Disaster provided the catalyst for Darwin to emerge as a Modern City.

The difference with the Queensland Flood Disaster is that Queensland is an Independently Administered State. For all those people calling for the abolition of State Government’s one only has to look at how all three tiers of Government have worked in unity and are not the bureaucratic problem many say that they are. All Emergency Service Personnel are administered on a State Basis.

For the Record Editor Victor P Taffa has visited Alice Springs and Darwin. Victor P Taffa has also climbed Uluru (Ayers Rock).

In light of the Queensland Floods being Australia’s worst Natural Disaster since Cyclone Tracy in 1974 not only do we need serious Planning for new Dams, Railway Lines, Roads and Airport Runways need to be built at a higher level and an Evacuation Plan must be drawn up.

The fact that there were so many sight-seers in Brisbane simply understated that Australia does not have adequate Evacuation Plan.

Evacuation of Towns and Cities such as Rockhampton and Brisbane are necessary considering that many Suburbs are submerged, Electricity Fails and an outbreak of many diseases occurs.

Once the Floodwaters fall the Commonwealth, State and Territory Government’s must Plan out a Natural Disaster Strategy.

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