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Push for Sunshine Coast to be declared disaster zone

By Bruce Atkinson, Friday February 8, 2013 - 16:15 EDT
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The Sunshine Coast suffered some flooding. - ABC

A federal MP wants the Sunshine Coast to be included in the list of disaster-declared areas.

The Sunshine Coast was not hit as hard by flooding as Gympie, Maryborough and Bundaberg.

However, some farmers were flooded or had crops destroyed by strong winds and thousands of residents were without power for days.

The federal Member for Fairfax, Alex Somlyay, has written to the federal Minister for Emergency Management, Mark Dreyfus, appealing for coast residents to be allowed access to the disaster recovery payments.

He says the State Government has to identify disaster areas to trigger Commonwealth funding.

"Our hands are tied, I don't know if Mark Dreyfus can override this State Government under this agreement, but I hope so, and include these people," he said.

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson is backing the push to have the region declared a disaster area.

Councillor Jamieson says it is wrong that unlike people in disaster declared areas they cannot get federal financial help.

"The idea of determining how assistance is provided on council boundaries is probably a little archaic or a little unfair, certainly in these circumstances," he said.

"Surely it needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

"As I went around and visited a number of areas immediately after the storm it was apparent the farming community certainly had been hit fairly hard."


© ABC 2013

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