I would like to thank all the locals that turned out for the flood hearing in Seymour last week, and especially to those who bravely took the time to personally present their story to the panel.
I would also like to thank my Nationals colleagues Melina Bath MP, Gaelle Broad MP, and Shadow Minister for Water Tom McCurdy MP for repeatedly visiting the region to understand firsthand the ongoing recovery and challenges.
With the area being one of the worst-affected regions in the state, this was the best chance possible at having local recommendations included in the final report, and hosting a public hearing was a massive win for the Seymour community, who were pushing hard for this.
It’s safe to say that most of us in attendance were emotionally affected by the stories that were told and showed just how much local families and businesses are still in such dire need a year on.
Unfortunately though, many in the community walked away feeling disrespected and unheard.
Of particular concern was the Chair’s (Labor MP Sonja Terpstra) stoney demeanour and insensitive comments calling for more “individual preparedness” by locals, which was a complete disregard to the crises and negligent warning system, and essentially laying the long term blame on the residents themselves.
I was disappointed in the Chairs’ apparent disregard to the local plight and this lack of compassion and victim blaming flies in the face of what a true solution to the problem should look like.
The people of Seymour need real help, real plans and not more blame shifting.
Annabelle Cleeland MP,
Member for Euroa