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Council slammed for not providing sandbags sooner


Ipswich council is being accused of being "ill prepared" in the wet weather for not providing sandbags sooner, but the Mayor assures council has responded "quickly and responsibly".

The sandbagging depot opened at 4pm yesterday.

There has been backlash on social media with many people saying it opened "too late" given the downpour began on Sunday.

Local Joy Bailey phoned council for help with sandbagging at 10am yesterday, when water began edging closer to her home.

She was told they couldn't help.

"I just asked them what I needed to do to get sandbags in order to protect the property, and the young lady was quite flustered," Ms Bailey says.

"I did feel for her because obviously she had quite a lot of angry calls before me.

"She asked her supervisor, and came back to tell me there were no plans or availability for sandbags...and go off to Bunnings."

Ms Bailey says she didn't mind but was "amazed nothing was in place".

Cameron Jeppeson, who runs a number of community groups, says locals began asking about sandbags on Sunday when the heavy rain set in.

"The sun is out by 4pm [on Tuesday], and they say 'come and get your sandbags', so where is the preparedness in this?"

"The residents deserve better than this."


Council defends emergency response

But Mayor Teresa Harding is assuring locals council responded promptly and effectively to support the community.

Ms Harding says the local disaster management group upgraded its status to 'Stand Up' yesterday, when flood and weather modelling escalated.

“And we changed the alert status to 'Stand Up' under the legislation because of the new weather forecasts."

"As of 3pm [yesterday], the modelling suggests that creek and river rises are likely right across the city, with a significant impact."

The upgraded response has been done based on formal warnings from the State Government, Ms Harding says.

"Council officers and relevant emergency personal have been keeping close watch on the events since the weekend, and we are ready to go at a moment's notice.

"Until the weather forecast changed, we just don't have people sitting around to do sandbags all day - I think we responded in a very timely manner."

Local disaster dashboard 

The elevated status triggered updates to the local disaster dashboard, which is a website aimed at providing up-to-date information on flooding, road closures and sandbagging.

But Mr Jeppeson says the first relevant post wasn't made until yesterday afternoon, and he feels this could have been done much earlier - without needing to wait for advice from the State Government.

"This website is designed to link the community and the local disaster management group together, so the community then knows what support they are going to get through the likes of sandbags.

"Look outside, roads are closed and people are needing sandbags, and council waits days to take formal action.

"Which is absolutely appalling."

The sandbag centre is located at the Council Depot at 250 Briggs Road, Raceview.