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Queensland floods: Man assaulted with baseball bat amid break-ins in flooded Ingham

By Anne Kruger and staff, Monday March 12, 2018 - 17:07 EDT
ABC licensed image
Flooding is slowly receding in Ingham, but 90 per cent of homes were affected. - ABC licensed

There are reports of break-ins and an assault in flood-ravaged Ingham in north Queensland, as at least a third of the state's local government areas are impacted by floods, with the damage bill to reach "in the millions".

About 90 per cent of homes have been impacted in the northern town of Ingham, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Sunday.

Flooding in the Herbert River also affected nearby towns such as Halifax, but the river level is falling slowly.

Police said two offenders broke into a house in Ingham and allegedly assaulted a 57-year-old man with a baseball bat.

Acting Police Inspector Scott Warwick said a sporting goods store on the main street of Ingham was also broken into on Friday night.

"Forced entry was made to that premises and two baseball bats were stolen," he said.

"A short time later in Warren Street ... a 57-year-old man was the victim of an assault.

"Two offenders have entered his premises and he was allegedly assaulted with a baseball bat."

Acting Inspector Warwick said the offenders also stole car keys and a replica pistol.

"The offenders have then stolen the gentleman's vehicle — that vehicle was then driven into floodwaters where it stalled and abandoned by offenders," he said.

Toyota Ingham branch manager Adrian Redman said someone had stolen a car from his dealership and damaged it.

"For someone just to do this with no gain — if they stole the car and got somewhere or went somewhere it would be different, but they just [damaged] it," he said.

Mr Redman said an elderly couple had the car on order for a month.

"[The couple were] supposed to take the delivery on Friday but due to Friday's flood we obviously couldn't deliver it," he said.

"When we spoke to the client this morning her words were she felt violated and rightly so.

"She paid for the car, she was waiting for delivery and some ratbags have done this."

Damage 'in the millions'

Meanwhile, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) will conduct full assessments of council infrastructure and insurance assessors have already arrived on the ground to inspect public assets.

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said he expected to see significant damage to roads and bridges as waters subsided.

"The damage [amount] is very, very, very difficult, but we're definitely looking in the millions — and lots thereof," Mr Crawford said.

He said most of the damage would be assessed once the floodwaters have receded.

"Bridges, culverts sewerage and water supplies, railway lines and the like —we want to make sure things are safe.

"Where we have been very, very lucky is we have not had the usual winds associated with normal storms that we get, so that has been a godsend," he said.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have also conducted initial damage assessments.

Ms Palaszczuk toured the region on Sunday, noting the extent of the damage.

"I don't think the people in the south-east realise how much impact this flood has had on the region and the surrounding communities," she said.

State disaster coordinator Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee called the floods "a large-scale event".

"At my count, at least a third of the state local government areas have been impacted," he said.

As waters recede, he also urged people to take precautions for the sake of their health.

"Road safety and thinking about the water you are using, all those things are very important," he said.

Mr Gee warned people not to be complacent, noting the Bureau of Meteorology predicted further rain over coming weeks.

"The event is not over yet," he said.

Grants and support funding available

Ms Palaszczuk said financial assistance and support services were made available to residents directly affected by the floods.

"Queensland Government Ready Reserve staff have been deployed to Townsville to lead community recovery efforts, with more expected to be deployed over the coming days," she said.

Damage assessments would be "a priority".

Ms Palaszczuk said hardship funding grants of $180 for individuals and $900 for families have been made available.

Minister for Communities Coralee O'Rourke urged people directly affected by the flooding to download the Self Recovery app for further information about grants.

Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo said Ingham residents were well prepared, which resulted in fewer emergency call-outs.

"I think that with modern technology, getting the information out is easy, we are better prepared and smarter," he said.


© ABC 2018

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