Jacinta Allan

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Parliament supports flood affected communities

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, today commended the tremendous efforts of communities across the Loddon Shire for their response to recent flooding events.

Ms Allan was speaking in Parliament during a motion on the recent flood events across Northern Victoria.

"The Victoria Parliament thanked emergency services personnel and noted the enormous recovery task ahead.

"I was able to share with the Parliament the experiences of the Bridgewater and Boort communities."

*Please find the text of Jacinta Allan's speech to Parliament below

In the space of two years, this house has been called on a number of occasions to consider the wrath of mother-nature. Today, our thoughts are with those communities rebuilding, after torrents of flood waters have raced through their lives over the past few weeks.

My thoughts today start with the community of Bridgewater-On-Loddon, located on the north western edge of my electorate.

As its full name suggests, Bridgewater is a picturesque village, located on the banks of the normally beautiful Loddon River.

Last month, however, the Loddon River wrecked much havoc through the town that bears its name and draws on it for its economic and social livelihood.

The flood waters destroyed the Bridgewater Public Caravan Park, throwing vans around like toys and destroying the town's tourism industry.

The Park is also home to the Bridgewater Ski Club who lost their jump and judging tower, and suffered significant damage to their clubrooms. Club stalwarts, Kevin and Paulette Jobe, and others are already working to restore these facilities, to bring back the skiers, the families and tourist activity for Bridgewater.

Along the main street of the town the water came up to the front counter of the post office, the Bowls Club suffered terrible damage to their greens and club rooms and many other properties are facing a challenging time as they clean up and restore businesses and homes.

Bridgewater sits on the southern border of the Loddon Shire. The torrential rain and subsequent flooding appears to have singled out many of the towns in the Loddon Shire.

Newbridge, Pyramid Hill, Inglewood, Serpentine, Boort, Durham Ox and many of the small villages across the district felt the force of the flood waters.

Travelling in the front of Loddon Shire's Cr Neil Beattie's 4 wheel drive around Boort and Yando you could see water stretching out forever like giant lakes.

The communities and the Loddon Shire have an enormous task ahead of it. There are houses, community facilities, roads and bridges to repair.

But potentially the most devastating impact is the impact on the farming community that represent the economic base of the Shire.

There was a dramatic loss of crops and stock, and much of the pasture was under water for days and weeks. This chronically inhibits the capacity for farmers to bounce back as it will take a long time for the land to recover.

The Loddon Shire, like Buloke and others will need special assistance and support. These areas were already doing it tough following a long period of drought. Their case for assistance is compelling.....

The time to debate and consider the Government's response and future flood mitigation measures will follow. This is a necessary process as there are lessons to be learnt from each natural disaster -for all levels of Government and the community.

And thanking the community is where I conclude. I commend the work of the Loddon Shire and their staff, the emergency services, community organisations and the local communities for their tremendous effort in responding to this crisis.

The response was tremendous. I thank them and will support them through their recovery.


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