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Army seeks to boost Bundaberg spirits

By Eric Tlozek, Wednesday February 6, 2013 - 10:29 EDT
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Army troops help with the clean-up in the town of Winfield, north of Bundaberg, yesterday. - ABC

The Army is preparing to leave Bundaberg later this week.

Army engineers are building a temporary bridge to the city's north, and have been sending teams to outlying communities, such as Winfield and Baffle Creek.

The contingent will farewell residents with a charity cricket match and community event today.

The commander of the emergency support force, Major Patrick O'Neill, says their work to repair major infrastructure is almost done.

"Once that bridge has been built, that's our last major task that we'll be conducting in the Bundaberg area," he said.

"What we'd like to do is get the community together, get all the people that we've been working with together, to build a bit of community spirit.

"There are some pretty tough times ahead in Bundaberg and in the Bundaberg region and one we'd like to say thank you and two we'd like to get the community together and get some community spirit."

Dams review

Meanwhile Queensland Water Minister Mark McArdle says it is unlikely dams on the Burnett River contributed to flood damage in Bundaberg.

Mr McArdle says the Paradise Dam level peaked almost 10 metres above its capacity, with water flowing over the spillway.

His department will review how dams coped with the record rainfall and river levels.

But the Minister says he doubts the dam made the flood worse.

"It may well be that when we do assess Paradise Dam and other dams in the Sunwater network we'll find ways to have them better serve the community," he said.

"But to my understanding there was nothing in the way the dam was operated to add to the flood."

Mr McArdle says building or raising dams will not guarantee major cities and towns will be safe from future floods.

He says Paradise Dam was not built to reduce flooding, and may not have helped if it was.

"It is simply impossible in my opinion to flood-proof Queensland," he said.

"It is simply impossible to put in place infrastructure that will absolutely guarantee no flooding will occur.

"So we start, say, raising dam levels and understanding what that can mean it doesn't guarantee flood mitigation or flood-proofing."

South Burnett

Authorities in the South Burnett say the flood recovery is going as well as can be expected with crews working around the clock to prioritise damaged roads.

Mayor Wayne Kratzmann says the damage is on par with what was seen in the 2011 floods and estimates it will cost $50 to $60 million to repair the road network.

He says there are not enough hours in the day to get the work done.

"We've still probably got 40 to 50 roads closed.

"We're looking at that making sure that everyone's ... some people still without access to get out of their property.

"So we're going around checking all that."


© ABC 2013

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