Ipswich residents evacuating flooded areas will be thankful for the foresight of the Ipswich Show Society in lobbying for an events centre which is now being used as an emergency evacuation facility able to accommodate 400 people.
One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson commended the society for having the sense to develop an emergency facility on high ground in flood-prone Ipswich.
“During the devastating floods of 2011 more than 1600 people evacuated to the showgrounds,” Senator Hanson said. “After that wrenching experience, the society began lobbying for public funding to build an events centre equipped to look after evacuees.”
Ipswich Show Society president Darren Zadow said he spent two years lobbying politicians for the funding before approaching Senator Hanson.
“After the experience of 2011 we wanted to make sure we could provide for evacuees in an emergency,” Mr Zadow said. “Pauline Hanson was instrumental in helping us get the funding for this facility, which is why we invited her to officially open it 18 months ago.
“The facility is located close to the local hospital. It has office space for emergency agencies and organisations like the Red Cross, and government agencies like Centrelink, a triage area, bathrooms for evacuees and a large kitchen able to produce meals for up to 400 people.”
Mr Zadow said the show society was now working towards funding to build a large convention centre which in emergencies could accommodate 2000 evacuees.
“I’ll be backing the show society all the way in its efforts to build this new facility to ensure the people of Ipswich have a safe place to go when we experience floods like this one,” Senator Hanson said. “Queenslanders are resilient in the face of natural disasters, but we must never lose sight of the devastating impact of the personal losses experienced by some families in these floods. We must stand ready to provide all possible assistance and support.”