Australia's 'ignored' flood towns vent anger

Last updated 15:59 01/02/2013
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman
DAMAGE SURVEY: Queensland Premier Campbell Newman in flood-ravaged Bundaberg this week.

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Angry residents have confronted Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, telling him help has been too slow to arrive to Gayndah after devastating floods.

The town, southwest of Bundaberg, has been without power and waiting for help since Sunday.

The army finally arrived on Thursday.

Newman on Friday toured the town, where he was met by two locals carrying placards saying: "Go home Newman" and "You're seven days too late!!"

Newman said he understood people were angry.

"There is an enormous amount that has been going on and an enormous amount of damage to sort out," he told ABC radio.

"They are entitled to be angry and upset by it if they've lost everything. I'd be angry and upset to. I'd want to stand up and shout and scream."

North Burnett Deputy Mayor Faye Whelan says locals are feeling forgotten.

She said there was severe damage in communities, including Mundubbera, west of Gayndah, where homes were smashed apart by powerful floodwaters early on Monday morning.

The water was "over the roof in some places", Whelan told AAP.

"Some houses were cut in half, some were partly washed away.

"We have varying degrees of devastation ... I don't think people realise how much damage is here."

Whelan said 100 homes and businesses had been flooded in Mundubbera, and about the same number had been hit in outlying areas.

She said residents, many of them elderly, were pulling together but the disaster was taking a big toll after widespread flooding two years ago.

She agreed there'd been a lack of outside help, and said the army was yet to reach Mundubbera.

But she said the Queensland Rural Fire Service got teams in on Thursday and 10 SES workers arrived on Thursday night.

Whelan said she'd been told the premier would visit Mundubbera on Friday, but she said she'd believe it when she saw it.

She said she didn't know how locals would react to a visit.

"They are felling jaded," she said.

"We need him to give us a hand. We need support here.

"I'm a little bit angry, so I don't think I should be commenting at this point.

"I want to talk to him rationally and implore him to send some army people here to help us."

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- AAP

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