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Nanango Primary School Devastated By Flooding
January 17, 2011 - Rumours that the Nanango State Primary School was devastated by the recent floods are true, a school spokesperson confirmed today.

A torrent of water which passed through the school during the height of flooding along lower Drayton Street last week destroyed nearly all of the school's carpets and left the Prep School building in ruins.

As well, the school library lost more than 90 per cent of its Junior Fiction collection and all their learning support resources; many outdoor and sports items in the school shed were destroyed as well.

Only 11 of the school's rooms were unaffected by flooding, the spokesperson said, and volunteers have been labouring for the past few days to get the school back to basic operational status in time for the resumption of classes next Monday.

The school is listed for flood repairs by Education Queensland and is likely to be fully restored in the next few months.

ABOVE RIGHT: Nanango State School in happier days ... it will reopen next Monday for the start of Term 1 thanks to the efforts of volunteers but conditions are likely to be very basic until Education Queensland can arrange repairs
Yarraman, Wondai Water Supply Restored;
Woolies Backs Salvos Flood Appeal
January 17, 2011 - Toowoomba Regional Council advised Yarraman residents at 9:00am today that the town's water supply has been fully restored.

Tight water restrictions that had applied since last Thursday can now be eased.

A damaged water main caused the issue and the Council had initially expected repairs would take 24 hours.

* * *

Retailer Woolworths announced over the weekend that they'll match all donations made to the Salvation Army's Flood Appeal dollar for dollar for any donations made at Woolworths supermarkets, Big W or Dick Smith stores from now until Thurdsday, January 20.

The appeal has already raised $1.5 million and the money will go directly to flood victims so that they can buy essentials they need.

Donations over $2 are tax deductible and Woolworths' stores will issue receipts.

* * *

Update: The SBRC returned Wondai to normal Level 1 water restrictions this afternoon after workers fixed water pumping equipment problems that have plagued the town since last Tuesday. Murgon, however, will need to remain on restrictions until full water supply capacity is reached.

* * *

Update 2:30pm: Latest road closure information from South Burnett Regional Council
Flood & Tourism
Slump Hits Hard
January 17, 2011 - South Burnett tourism businesses such as The Peanut Van have been hit hard by the Queensland floods and the subsequent tourism slump.

Last week all three of The Peanut Van's outlets were closed, its market days in Brisbane cancelled and mail orders delayed.

Owner Rob Patch said heavy rain had also entered The Peanut Van's headquarters in Kingaroy, (right).

He told SBBiz that the latest round of floods had followed a tourist slump over Christmas linked to earlier flooding in other parts of Queensland.

"People don't realise how much it has affected local business," Rob said.

"I have lived here 55 years and I have never seen anything like it."

The Peanut Van re-opened its outlets in Kingaroy, Childers and at Aussie World on reduced hours on Friday and has launched a "flood sale" to help reduce stock built up because of the flooding.

1kg packs of flavoured peanuts have been reduced to $15.00; salt roasted peanuts have been reduced to $8.95/kg and 375g packs of flavoured peanuts are now 2 for $17.00 and 3 for $24.00.


ABOVE LEFT: The Peanut Van has also donated cartons of peanuts as special "thank you" parcels for local SES crews and police and for delivery to local flood victims. Another load is being prepared for soldiers working in the Lockyer Valley and the flood survivors in this area.
Hardship Payments Available To South Burnett Residents
January 17, 2011 - Residents affected by recent flooding in the South Burnett Regional Council area can now access assistance to help them recover from the effects of extreme weather the region has experienced.

Community Services Minister Karen Struthers said yesterday the Personal Hardship Assistance Scheme had been activated in the South Burnett area.

Support and referral services are available to individuals and families in the area who do not have the capacity to meet their immediate, unexpected basic costs for food, clothing, medical supplies or accommodation due to the extreme weather.

People in the area may be available for payments of up to $170 for individuals or $850 for families if they are in genuine hardship.

The needs of individuals and families will be assessed and they will be provided with the most appropriate support from a range of options including referrals to non-government organisations.

"Applications for Essential Household Contents and Structural Assistance Grants are also available for individuals and families affected by the flooding in the South Burnett area," Ms Struthers said.

"These grants are income and asset-tested."

People who are experiencing personal hardship due to the flooding can contact the Department of Communities on 1800-173-349 for support.

* * *

Nanango residents have uploaded videos of local flooding last week to YouTube:

Public Meeting At Durong On Monday Night
January 16, 2011 - A public meeting will be held at the Durong Hall at 6:30pm tomorrow night (ie Monday, January 17) so that Cr Cheryl Dalton and the South Burnett Regional Council can update local residents about repairing road damage in the Durong area.

The SBRC would also like to hear any local concerns about important roads or bridges the Council may have missed. Because of widespread flood damage to phone lines in the area, all locals who'd like an update on the current situation are encouraged to attend.

* * *

South Burnett Mayor Cr David Carter told the Sunday Mail today that he expects the South Burnett's damage bill from the floods to exceed $55 million because of damage to roads, a sewage treatment plant and town water supplies.

The Sunday Mail reported that up to 12 houses were inundated in Nanango, Blackbutt and Murgon and farms also suffered heavy stock losses.
Yarraman Water Main To Be Fixed Today
January 14, 2011 - The problems with a damaged water main which are causing a critical water shortage in Yarraman should be resolved soon.

A Toowoomba Regional Council spokesman told SBBiz employees had been working on the problem since yesterday and expected to have it fixed today.

In the meantime, however, he urged Yarraman residents to continue conserving water.

* * *

South Burnett Regional Council has advise residents that the Wondai reservoir is approaching full capacity and Murgon will be full by Monday however residents are still being asked to conserve water.

A review will be undertaken early next week with the possibility of water usage returning to normal.
Murgon Bridge & Highway Now Open
January 14, 2011 - There's good news for Murgon residents this morning with the announcement by South Burnett Mayor David Carter that the Krebs Bridge will be re-opened later today.

Cr Carter said the Bunya Highway between Wondai and Murgon at Krebs Bridge would open at approximately 10:00am.

He also repeated that the D'Aguilar Highway between Kingaroy and Nanango is open. Both lanes are open but at a reduced speed of 40km/h at the damaged section. Cr Carter said the speed limit would be lifted to 60km/h when the repair was resealed.

UPDATE 10:00am - Gympie Regional Council has confirmed that the Wide Bay Highway - all the way from the Bells Bridge turn-off to Murgon - is now open. Importantly, there are NO load limits on this road. Also, South Burnett Mayor David Carter has confirmed that Krebs Bridge at Murgon is now open with a reduced speed limit.

UPDATE 1:30pm - Kingaroy-Cooyar Road has been closed due to a pavement failure at the Old Taabinga/Archookoora Road intersection.

UPDATE 3:00pm - Proston-Boondooma Road is currently undergoing pavement repairs on the Stuart River Bridge approach, so access maybe limited or the road closed at times due to the remedial works. Cherbourg Road to Wondai is now trafficable.

Latest Road
Closure
Information
January 13, 2011 - Here are the latest Road Updates from the South Burnett Regional Council (from council's Facebook page):

  • Sandy Creek - Road closed. Bridge approaches to be repaired over the next couple of days.

  • Proston/Boondooma Road (Carter’s Corner) - Road closed. The Stuart and Boyne River bridges to be inspected today to determine amount of work required from Durong area.

  • Kingaroy/Cooyar Bridge - Load restrictions. Level 3 Bridge inspections to be scheduled.

  • Wondai/Cherbourg Road - Road closed. Not trafficable.

  • Krebs Bridge - Closed. Water is 1.3m above bridge and falling slowly. Possibly 24 hours and then the bridge and road will be inspected before opening.

  • Kilkivan to Bells Bridge - Road closed. Culvert failure.

  • Bridge near Barambah Homestead on Burnett Highway - Closed. Road failure.

  • Nanango/Bjelke-Petersen Dam - Road open via Burnett Highway/Murgon Barambah Road

  • Wattle Camp area roads to be inspected today.

    UPDATE 2:30pm: Latest South Burnett road information

    UPDATE 4:00pm: Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace has announced that drivers can now get all the way from Brisbane to Gladstone. The Bruce Highway around Gympie has reopened to the south and through the heart of town, six days after floodwaters closed the national highway link.

    ABOVE RIGHT: A flood-damaged crossing on the Burrandowan/Burra Burri Road, past the Burrandowan racetrack. Photo courtesy: Carolyn Stone
  • Critical Water Supply in Wondai & Murgon
    January 13, 2011 - Wondai has just two days water supply left - and Murgon about five days - due to flood-related problems with water pumping equipment.

    South Burnett Regional Council said this afternoon the situation was stable in Wondai and praised residents for their support.

    In Murgon, usage has also decreased but it is still outstripping the amount of water able to be pumped.

    Council stressed there was no problem with the quality of the water and it was safe to drink.

    It has urged residents to save water while the issue is being addressed.
    Kingaroy Shopping Update
    January 13, 2011 - To dispel rumours circulating about shortages in Kingaroy, this was the position in town at 1:30pm today:

  • Aldi Supermarket - restricted hours until normal trading on Monday
  • Foodworks Kingaroy - open
  • Kingaroy Video and Convenience Store - open
  • SupaIGA - open
  • Woolworths - open

    At Woolworths, there were limited supplies of fresh meat and fruit available, but no toilet paper or bread.

    Fresh fruit and vegetables were available at Andersson's Fruit Market.

    Kingaroy Cakes, next door to the CWA Hall in Kingaroy Street, will be baking this evening and will have fresh bread available from 6:00am tomorrow.

  • Accents Restaurant & Cafe - open from 5:00pm tonight
  • Burning Beats - open
  • Dominos - open
  • Healthy Noodle - open
  • KFC - closed
  • Red Rooster - open
  • Taste South Burnett - open 10:00am to 4:00pm, 7 days
  • Subway - open
  • McDonald's - open

    Utopia and Kingaroy Coffee Lounge are open. Glendon Street Cafe will be closing early at 4:00pm.

    Fuel was available at several outlets and newspapers were available.

    * * *

    Aldi Kingaroy has donated more than $5000 worth of products to go towards emergency food packs for people who cannot access other food supplies because of the floods. If you are isolated and are in need of food packs please contact Council on 1300-789-279.

    * * *

    Good news for Nanango residents! Foodworks Nanango in Fitzroy Street has (at 4:30pm today) bread, milk (limited to 2 litres per person), a limited range of fresh fruit and vegetables plus plenty of other stock.
  • Yarraman Water Supply Alert
    January 13, 2011 - Toowoomba Regional Council is alerting Yarraman residents to use as little water as possible.

    Damage to a water main has limited supply to the township and its residents.

    Existing storage levels are sufficient to meet needs for only one day.

    Residents should immediately observe extreme water conservation measures. This means using water only inside their homes and minimising its use as much as possible.

    Council teams are working to repair damage and are confident that full supply will be restored by tomorrow.

    Shorter showers, not leaving taps running when washing vegetables and turning off the tap while brushing your teeth help to minimise water use.

    Latest Road

    Closures:


  • South Burnett council area (updated 9:00am).

    UPDATE 11:30am: The South Burnett Regional Council has just advised readers on Facebook that one lane of the D'Aguilar Highway between Kingaroy and Nanango is now open to traffic with extreme caution.

  • Gympie council area

  • Toowoomba area

    NB. As previously reported, the D'Aguilar Highway across the Blackbutt Range will be closed at least until Tuesday.

    ABOVE RIGHT: Ironpot Road, washed away near Bob & Paula Wynn's property "Stoneleigh" in the Ironpot area. Photo courtesy: Carolyn Stone
  • Do You Want To Lend A Hand?
    January 13, 2011 - We've been cut off, we've lost power, we've been short of some groceries - and there have been some voluntary evacuations - but admit it, most South Burnett residents have escaped the real trauma that has hit much of southern Queensland.

    Feeling guilty? Well, here's how you can help ... by donating to the major flood appeals that have been established to help our fellow Queenslanders get back on their feet:


    * * *

    Queensland Police have issued a general warning to beware of scammers who may knock on your door asking for donations. Always check the identity of doorknockers and internet-based appeals to ensure your money is going to those who desperately need it.

    The best way to ensure this is to:
    • Ask the doorknocker/collector to provide identification
    • Ask for proof of which charity they are collecting for
    • Check that the charity is a registered charity

    * * *

    If you need help, the following links may be of assistance:

    • Information about Disaster Recovery Payments is available on the Centrelink website;

    • Information for small businesses and primary producers is on the QRAA website;

    • The Department of Community Services also has information about financial assistance available;

    • The Red Cross is helping people to reconnect with family and friends through the National Registration and Inquiry System. NB. The Red Cross has not launched its own appeal for flood-affected Queenslanders because the Premier of Queensland has already launched the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal for the same purpose;

    • The Queensland Rural Women's Network has also put together a comprehensive list of assistance.
    Police Ferry Food Into Murgon
    January 12, 2011 - Police have co-ordinated a food drop for Murgon residents including milk and emergency food packs. The food was ferried across the water at Krebbs Bridge and collected on the opposite side.

    Police are investigating all inquiries relating to shortage of food supplies in the region. At this point in time, emergency food packs will be supplied if you have exhausted your supplies.

    The SB Local Disaster Management Group is encouraging those residents who require medication to firstly talk to their doctor or pharmacist for assessment. If the situation is critical your doctor or pharmacist will organise for the medication to be delivered.

    * * *

    The Cherbourg Road from Wondai is now open for use by motorists however caution is required.
    Message From South Burnett Disaster Group
    January 12, 2011 - The South Burnett Local Disaster Management Group met again in Kingaroy today at 10:00am.

    The group is currently meeting twice a day to strategise and prioritise the issues currently facing many residents and businesses throughout the South Burnett region. During these meetings the group cover issues from evacuations, safety of people, road access, immediate response issues and any other critical/life threatening issues.

    All other issues will be addressed as the flood recedes and when a more detailed assessment can be made.

    In more detail, the group discussed the following:

    • There has been no change to the water supply at Wondai and Murgon. Council will assess the water treatment plants today and until this is completed there is no external use of water unless for cleaning of vehicle windscreens, mirrors and pet enclosures or emergency purposes. There will be further updates regarding this situation as the assessment continues.

    • D’Aguilar Highway (Barker Creek Flats) from Kingaroy to Nanango is closed to all vehicles and is currently being assessed. The Group will further discuss the situation tomorrow at its meeting and will provide an update on the road closure at this time.

    • Rumours are currently spreading around the region. The Group would like to clarify that there has been no evacuations and has not planned any evacuations. Residents are advised that official press releases will be issued by the Group, Council, Ergon Energy and Queensland Police regarding the South Burnett region. It is recommended that you ignore any information that has not been issued by the abovementioned organisations.

    • The Group can confirm that Sunwater have assessed the Bjelke-Petersen Dam and there is no damage to the dam.

    • The Blackbutt Range remains closed. The range is being assessed by engineers and further updates will be provided by the Group on Tuesday.

    The South Burnett Local Disaster Management Group would like to reiterate to stay home and to only travel if it’s an emergency. If you are inconvenienced as a result of the current flooding and associated events please contact Council on either 1300-789-279 or (07) 4189-9100, the SES on 13-25-00 or if it is life-threatening 000.

    * * *

    As a result of the cut to the electricity supply in Wondai, the South Burnett Regional Council has advised residents that wheelie bins have been placed in Coronation Park for the disposal of perished food stuffs. Bins are also located in front of the Town’s commercial premises for the businesses to use if their existing bins are not capable of taking the food that has perished.
    Power To Be Restored Today
    January 12, 2011 - Ergon Energy expects to progressively restore power to most customers in the South Burnett by mid-afternoon.

    Crews have been deployed into the area by chopper this morning and are currently working on repairing damage to both the Redgate and Wondai feeder lines.

    The Wondai feeder, which supplies about 1300 customers, is expected to be re-energised by lunchtime.

    The Redgate feeder, which supplies almost 800 customers, including those in Cherbourg, is expected to be re-energised by mid-afternoon.

    However the Silverleaf feeder, which also supplies close to 800 customers, remains too close to floodwaters to be re-energised at this stage. An expected restoration time cannot be estimated at this point and Ergon has urged customers to prepare for the possibility that some may not have their power restored for some days.

    Power was restored to about 250 customers in the Chelmsford, Cushnie and Wheatlands areas between 5:00pm and 7:00pm yesterday by switching their supply from the Murgon sub-station to the Proston and Kingaroy sub-stations.

    UPDATE 1: Power was restored to the Wondai feeder at 9:45am.

    UPDATE 2 - 12:15pm: Power has been restored to Cherbourg.

    UPDATE 3 - 5:15pm: The Silverleaf feeder was re-energised about 3.50pm. Power has been restored to all South Burnett customers except for about a dozen where Ergon crews could not gain access to replace poles that have come down.

    UPDATE 4 - 5:55pm: The only outage at present is in the Mondure/Byee area and isolated homes around Nanango.

    • Safety Tip: If your switches are under water, once the water recedes, please ensure you contact a licensed electrician to undertake an inspection before turning on your power.


    Latest Road Closures:

    Emergency Centres
    Set Up Across
    the South Burnett
    January 11, 2011 - Travellers stranded in the South Burnett - or residents forced to evacuate their homes - will be able to access accommodation and meals at Emergency Centres which have been set up by the South Burnett Regional Council.

    The Salvation Army and other local community groups are providing assistance at the Kingaroy Town Hall.

    Assistance is also available at the Nanango Cultural Centre, Blackbutt Community Hall and Murgon PCYC (formerly The Pulse).

    UPDATE Jan 13: Centres are currently catering for about 60 people.

    * * *

    Photographs of empty supermarket shelves in Kingaroy were posted on Facebook today.

    This afternoon, the South Burnett Regional Council said food supplies were getting lower as there is no access to the region.

    "At present the big concerns are for the Cherbourg community that is isolated and also for Murgon. Cherbourg is hoping to have supplies airlifted to that community sometime today, weather permitting. Other areas have food but not necessarily all lines are available."

    UPDATE January 12: Message from Cr Cheryl Dalton: Wondai, Tingoora, Silverleaf residents without power come and charge your appliances, mobile phones, laptop computers, heat baby milks etc at the Wooroolin Hall today - all free. Coffee and tea available, hot water for those wanting to fill thermoses and take home and, of course, I will be there to help if you have any questions.

    ABOVE: The Wondai-Chinchilla Road at Ballogie washed out by Okeden Creek.
    Photo courtesy: Martin Stern
    Flooding Also Cuts Power
    January 11, 2010 - Ergon Energy has been forced to cut the power supply to about 2900 customers in the South Burnett as a safety precaution due to flooding.

    General Manager Service Delivery Paul Jordon said the rising floodwaters were now too close to Ergon Energy’s powerlines to provide a safe clearance, so three feeder lines had been "de-energised".

    This had resulted in customers in Wondai, Cherbourg, Chelmsford, Cloyna, Cushnie, Merlwood, Moffatdale, Redgate, Silverleaf, Tingoora, Wheatlands and Windera having their power cut about 10:00am today.

    "About 200mm of rain fell overnight in the catchments for already flooded creeks and they were expected to continue rising into this afternoon," Mr Jordon said.

    "We have a chopper on the way to locate any damage that has been sustained and it will give us a better indication of when it may be safe to restore power after the peak has passed.

    "It is unknown when power will be able to be restored at this stage. Restoration of power will depend on the rate that the waters recede and any damage found on the system assets."

    UPDATE 5:30pm: Ergon Energy crews do not expect to be able to safely restore power today. Chopper patrols this afternoon confirmed that clearances remained insufficient to restore power and also located damage to poles and powerlines.

    Another 140 customers in other parts of the South Burnett are also without power supply because crews have not been able to access areas where damage has occurred. In Chinchilla, renewed flooding has resulted in 96 customers having their power supply disconnected.
    Emergency Water Alert For Murgon & Wondai
    January 11, 2011 - The South Burnett Regional Council has advised that Murgon and Wondai are now under Emergency Water Supply Arrangements.

    No external use of water is allowed unless for cleaning of vehicle windscreens, mirrors and pet enclosures or emergency purposes.

    Council says these towns have sufficient supply for at least two days with these restrictions.

    It is working on alternative arrangements and will update progress daily.
    Blackbutt Range Still Closed
    January 11, 2011 - The D'Aguilar Highway east of Blackbutt is still blocked following the landslip at the top of the Range on the weekend.

    Latest advice received by Southburnett.biz this morning is that there are fears that following the recent rain more landslides could occur on the Blackbutt Range so the highway will be closed until further notice.

    UPDATE 4:00pm: A Geotechnical Engineer has been engaged to undertake an assessment of the D'Aguilar Highway on the Blackbutt Range however the road will be closed for the next 72 hours until this assessment is completed.

    The townships of Murgon and Cherbourg have joined other South Burnett towns that are isolated (including Wattlecamp, pictured above right). South Burnett Mayor David Carter told ABC Radio this morning that helicopter food drops may have to be considered if the situation worsens.

    Evacuations have occurred in the Nanango and Kilkivan regions.

    Major roads closed this morning include:
    • Brisbane Valley Highway (Fernvale, Toogoolawah)
    • Bunya Highway (Murgon)
    • Burnett Highway (Ban Ban Springs, Barambah Creek Bridge, Boonara Creek, Reedy Creek)
    • D'Aguilar Highway (Barker Creek, Blackbutt Range, Kilcoy, Mary Smokes Creek, Sandy Creek)
    • Wide Bay Highway (Bells Bridge)

    Latest Road Closures:

    • South Burnett council area

      NB. This PDF should be read in conjunction with the following note from Council: "As there are many roads within our region, we are not able to inspect all of them at regular intervals. It also becomes misleading for Council to repeat out-of-date information into this table so some roads may not appear on the table. Please be advised to take care on all roads and follow the signage put in place by Council."

    • Gympie council area
    Photo courtesy: Greg & Kelly Taffe
    Don't Travel Unless It's An Emergency
    January 10, 2011 - The Local Disaster Management Group met today at the Council Chambers in Kingaroy to review the current situation and to put in place strategies to combat the intense rain that has fallen across the South Burnett region.

    The group consists of key stakeholders from the community including Council officers, Emergency Management Queensland, Police, SES, Ambulance, Ergon Energy, Queensland Fire and Rescue Services, various local welfare organisations, Tarong, Thiess, Centrelink, Queensland Health, Sunwater, aged care facilities, Department of Communities and other government departments.

    The group is requesting that residents do not travel over the next 48 hours.

    "The roads are in a bad condition and I highly recommend all motorists obey the road signs. Do not travel unless it is an emergency. Council officers are working extremely hard to keep up with the water movement and I ask that if you have to travel on the roads that you drive with caution." Mayor David Carter said.