Jan 132011

January 12 2011 should probably be a day to be remembered, but I doubt if I will.

Living in Redland Shire I’m distanced from the dramas surrounding the Brisbane River, and I’m thankful for that. I remember the long weekend of Australia Day 1974, the leadup to January 29 which was the peak of flooding. I remember the Robert Miller breaking loose from Evan’s Deakin, the Eagle Street wharves where I used to park my car going under 8 feet of water. The incessant rain for weeks. I remember the stench of the mud throughout South Brisbane and the sight of William Jolly Bridge almost going under.

I don’t need to relive an experience that so many who were too young seem driven to want to wrap themselves in. I understand the draw, the attraction of something which we all hope will be a ‘oncer’. It’s all about the memories and I’m afraid I have mine. Short & sweet, I’m fed up to the back teeth with floods, rain & human drama. Life is depressing enough without deliberately feeding it to oneself.

I am pleased to see Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, genuinely rising to the challenge this flooding drama has posed to her. She grows in character, as a leader, with every conference I see. Of course, there are the ever present naysayers of the conservative persuasion who will say the opposite out of spite & repetitive habit, but such is as far from the truth as can be possible. Gillard also has performed well, deferring to Bligh in each joint appearance, as should be the case. It’s sad that only in times of distress do the real leaders come to the fore. Unlike that most reprehensible of human beings, Abbott. Can’t possibly make a public statement without turning it into a politicised point-marker.

“the Wivenhoe Dam’s role in adverting a worse disaster was evident. I think it is pretty clear that disastrous as this flood as been, it would have been significantly worse without the Wivenhoe Dam. It is a tribute to the foresight and the courage of an earlier generation of Queensland politicians that that dam was built. Though I think we should be grateful to them for that, in the weeks and months ahead it will be important to reflect on the experiences of these floods and to work out how we can best ensure that the community is safeguarded as far as can be against a recurrence.”

A veiled reference to the government of that most corrupt of all conservative politicians, Sergio Beeoftun Peed-Upon. Abbott chooses the right shades to invoke, in my view. Peas in a pod. Conservatively corruptive.

I dare say all next week I’ll be assailed by southerners over the Great Brisbane Flood, when the truth couldn’t be further from the facts. 1974 was terrible, devastating and heartbreaking. Recovery took almost 12 months. I’ll warrant with the level of assistance this time around – Army, SES, all of the emergency services and a marshalling of a volunteer cadre before the river even starts to recede, recovery will be almost complete in six weeks. Don’t think I’m not awed by the power of nature, because I am. All I’m saying is that we’ve been here before and all the money & hooplah from Sergio in building Wivenhoe so that Brisbane would never flood again, was all that he usually gave the people. Chicken feed. There is no stopping nature and no accounting for all possible situations. Water will fall, rivers will run. Dams can only slow the process, not stop it. We’ve been here before and we’ll be here again at some point in the future. Possibly some time in the no so distant future if the evidence of Climate Change. The record runs 1841; 1890; 1893, 1931 and 1974. Then there’s today. Maybe the patterns are changing, maybe they’re not but one thing is certain, the climate as a whole IS changing. We have a major flood mitigation dam in place now and the city still flooded. We’ve had a month’s rain, solid. In 1974, we had a week’s rain, solid. Things are changing, I don’t care what anyone says. I’m only grateful that this latest event wasn’t as bad as the one I recall, and not as severe as those before then.

We think we’re hard done by because we choose to live by a river which floods. That’s fairly nonsensical if you ask me. But we didn’t choose to live on a planet we’re slowly but surely destroying the environment on. An environment we need to survive, and yet, there are those who want to deny that we can be having an impact on the world we live on, where we are the most developed and prolific lifeform. You want to see impact? Watch your news bulletins.

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