Traralgon Floods – lack of State Government support

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (17:46): (1438) My adjournment matter this evening is for the acting Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and it relates to a lovely lady who is in my electorate and lives in Traralgon. She lives in the flood-affected zone that saw water careering down her street, through her garage, through her car and under home floor when the floods ripped through that area in early June. Her property was savaged by the floods. The items, the things that were lost: lawnmower, edger, blower, vacuum, car, garage door, fencing, split system for heating cooling. Her garden was her pride and joy and was ruined. The underfloor was all wet, damp and smelling hideous. There were treasured possessions—those of her late husband, who had made certain things—that were all gone, lost memories, and she has been devastated.

The floods would have always come. She could not stop that; no government could stop that. But what could have changed was the emergency response for that community. She was actually bedridden after she sustained an injury whilst trying to save her beloved possessions. She woke up and her property was flooded, and she did her best to survive and to save those items. In the past the Latrobe City Council had been in charge of flood warning systems. There was a comprehensive flood warning plan for Traralgon, and it was enacted. There were doorknockers—people would go around and alert people by knocking on their door. There were sandbags available. There was a comprehensive plan for individuals down each street. What happened is that Emergency Management Victoria now has the jurisdiction for that, and it failed. It failed those people, and it failed her. There was no door knocking; there was no system in place. The ‘evacuate now’ warning came at 10.00, 10.30 in the morning after the floods had come through at 6.30.

So this lady is bereft. She has qualified for the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, a fantastic volunteer organisation where people donate and they pass on those donations. She has qualified for that. She has qualified for very small funding from the commonwealth government, which was $1000. What she did not qualify for but thought she should have qualified for was when this state government said people can have up to $42 000 if they have been affected by the flood. She attempted to get this; and she  was told she did not meet the criteria. The criteria was too high. So the action I seek from the minister is to personally intervene, review her case and others like her and find a way to recompense her for some of her losses.