For the third time this year, Melissa Stanley is anxiously watching the Mary River rise as record-breaking rain continues to fall across the Wide Bay region.
- Maryborough’s flood-affected residents apply for a buy-back scheme, as the Mary River rises for a third time this year
- Road closures litter the Gladstone Region, with drivers on the Bruce Highway stopped between Miriam Vale and Gin Gin
- Drought breaks in the North Burnett and farmers welcome the May rain
The Maryborough resident is one of thousands of flood-affected Queenslanders who will be applying for the state government’s $741 million Resilient Homes Fund, to access grants to raise, repair or retrofit their homes, or have them voluntarily bought back.
Floodwaters reached the roof of her Maryborough home in both January and February this year, leaving the house she shares with her mother uninhabitable.
They have been renting accommodation from their neighbour, but the family remains living in flood territory.
“We’re constantly checking the BOM, we walk down pretty much every hour to check the river to see if it has come up any further,” Ms Stanley said.
“We’ve already evacuated all of our stuff from our property to higher ground because we just don’t know.”
Ms Stanley says the voluntary buy-back scheme is her only hope for recovery.
“For our property to be out of the flood zone, we’d have to lift the house four and a half metres above the ground — that’s a long way up.”
Fighting for their share
With the funding to be split across Gympie and the South-East, the member for Maryborough, Bruce Saunders, says Wide Bay residents will have to fight to get their share.
“It’s a good scheme, but we’ve got to get people to register first,” Mr Saunders said.
“You’ve got to really fight to make sure no-one from Maryborough who has been affected by the floodwaters is disadvantaged.”
With parts of Queensland already receiving more than their May average rainfall and more forecast to come, Mr Saunders said local governments needed to change the way they looked at housing.
“The climate is changing, the weather patterns are changing, and I think local governments have got to step up instead of mass building houses now,’ he said.
A wider look at Wide Bay weather
Heavy rainfalls are stretching from Rockhampton to the border, encapsulating most of the Wide Bay Burnett.
Moderate flood warnings are current for the Burnett, Kolan and Mary River catchments and for Baffle Creek.
The Gladstone Region has felt the impact of heavy rainfalls overnight, with up to 200mm recorded in parts of the Baffle Creek and Kolan River systems.
Gladstone’s Deputy Mayor Kahn Goodluck said it had resulted in up to 20 road closures across the region including the Bruce Highway north of Gin Gin.
“Essendean Bridge is under and Eulalia Bridge is under in the Baffle Creek/Deepwater area,” Cr Goodluck said.
“The road is cut off between Bundbaberg and Agnes Water, and we’ve got Fingerboard Road between Miriam Vale and Agnes Water under.”
The Bureau of Meteorology said the Baffle Creek catchment was likely to exceed the moderate flood levels and reach heights of 10 metres, similar to that seen in the 2017 April foods.
Farmers welcome a flush-out
Further inland to the North Burnett, the falls have been drought breaking.
Colston Lake dairy farmer Robbie Radel says areas which missed out during the wet season are now seeing some generous falls.
“At Colston Lakes where we are, we certainly have not had the huge rain that has been around this season,” Mr Radel said.
“I’ve got a feeling that we might get quite wet as this [rain] continues to make its way through.”
Rainfall figures since 9am yesterday in the North Burnett include 74 millimetres at Eidsvold, 86mm at Mount Gayndah and 112mm at Mount Perry.
The North Burnett’s flood declaration was revoked on Wednesday.
“It’s certainly been some beautiful rain leading into winter, which is certainly something we’re not used to,” Mr Radel said.
“Looking at the big picture, I don’t think there will be too many people disappointed with the rain.
“It will allow them to get a winter crop in off the back of the crop that they’ve just had.”
Mr Radel said the rainfall was welcomed for a number of reasons.
“I spoke with a gentleman at Mundubbera yesterday afternoon who said they are catching 1,000 mice a day through traps just around the outside of the house,” he said.
“They’re certainly hoping this rain event will wipe them out.”
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