Floodwaters from the Burnett River inundate parts of
Bundaberg, 300kms north of Brisbane. REUTERS/Campbell
Newman/Office of the Premier of Queensland
About 7500 people have been displaced in Bundaberg as the
Queensland city contemplates a long recovery from its
worst-ever flood disaster.
Premier Campbell Newman toured the stricken city by air on
Tuesday morning and said he was shocked by what he saw.
"I've seen perhaps even more extraordinary sights than we saw
two years ago in southeast Queensland," Mr Newman told
He says Bundaberg is at the centre of the state's flood
crisis, with so many in need of help now and in the future.
"This is the number one priority for myself, for my
government - to do everything we can for the people of this
So far there are no reports that homes have been swept from
their foundations, as feared.
But authorities say that won't be known for sure until the
floodwaters have cleared.
Mr Newman visited evacuation centres and accompanied one
senior SES worker on a boat tour of her home, which had water
up to its ceiling.
He says the courage some people are showing in continuing to
work for the community, even when their own homes are going
under, is amazing.
The premier promised all possible support for Bundaberg
residents in the days, weeks and months ahead.
"They've shown a lot of guts, they're not going to give up,
they're not going to be crushed by this," he said.
Most of the 7500 people displaced by the flood have gone to
stay with family and friends.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey says there are 1500 residents in
evacuation centres across the city.
Mr Dempsey said 2000 homes had been inundated.
He said there had been 1000 mandatory evacuations in the last
24 hours alone, on top of earlier self-evacuations.
The Burnett River was at record levels and heading towards an
expected flood peak of 9.5 metres between 2pm and 3pm (AEST)
Mr Newman said there were ongoing concerns about the
possibility of buildings being washed away.
"Listen to the roar of the water - that's not helicopters,"
"You see a lot of locations where there's literally rapids,
white water out there, so it is very dangerous.
"Those velocities are what we're concerned about in terms of
taking buildings away."
He said there was no doubt the bravery of air crews involved
in 1000 mandatory evacuations had averted a worse disaster.
"We did have a situation with fast-rising floodwaters and
people being very rapidly isolated on ever diminishing
islands of ground," he said.
Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said the clean-up task ahead would
be huge, but the focus for now was on those who had lost so
"There's probably about 2500 to 3000 homes and another 200 or
300 businesses that have been affected, inundated with
water," he said.
"We will have a lot of hardship to get through, but we have a
great team. There's a great community spirit out there."
The premier said he was working to ensure everyone in
evacuation centres had enough food and water, amid reports
one centre at Oakwood was down on supplies.
He said people at that centre were being moved elsewhere.
There would be announcements in the coming days about
long-term support for Bundaberg, the premier said.
"We're a tough mob, we've got a lot of guts. We're going to
get through this."
He urged all Australians to donate to the Queensland
government/Red Cross flood appeal.