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'Better' housing sought for Bundaberg flood victims

By Alyse Edwards and Eric Tlozek, Wednesday February 13, 2013 - 07:36 EDT

Bundaberg's council says it is looking to find a more permanent housing for flood-affected residents living at the showgrounds in the southern Queensland city.

Deputy Mayor David Batt says residents could be housed in motels or given rent assistance until a more permanent solution is found.

He says Queensland's Department of Communities and Housing is working with residents.

"They'll be trying to find more permanent accommodation for everyone that's in there - I think around the 100 mark of people that are there," he said.

"As part of that we are putting some single accommodation into what was a caravan park there on the river and we are also looking at properties and places where we may be able to put some more, still short-term, but better accommodation."

He says it could take months for a decision to be made about housing buy-backs.

Mr Batt says it is important a decision is not rushed.

"These things will take some time - there's a lot of things to decide and there's a lot of money involved," he said.

"It's not something you can do overnight and I think it would be irresponsible of council and and councillors to make very quick and rash decisions.

"These are things that we need to have a look at - all the pros and cons and what we can afford and whether state and federal government will look at wanting to be involved and what assistance they can give in any of these programs."

Volunteer efforts

Meanwhile, volunteer firefighters who have been helping with flood recovery efforts in Bundaberg are heading home today.

Thirty-five volunteers from across Queensland have hosed more than 500 homes and businesses and have helped clear streets and parks of mud and debris.

They will be replaced by other volunteers, who will stay for about a week.

Rural Fire Service spokesman Tony Johnson says the volunteers have made the clean-up shorter and easier.

"It's been invaluable, the time and the effort these guys put in is unbelievable and I'm just proud of every one of them that's actually come to Bundaberg or supported any event we've had so far," he said.

"Without these guys we wouldn't have got half the work done we've done so far."

He says the volunteers have done a huge amount of work in flood-hit areas of Bundaberg.

"To date around Bundaberg I think they've done 560 washouts of houses," he said.

"They've done about 15 commercial premises, shopping complexes, things like that, so business can get back to normal for these people."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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