QTU helps members in "rain bomb" aftermath
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 3, 14 April 2022, page no. 15
The past few months have been challenging in Queensland, thanks to the significant rain event the Bureau of Meteorology described by as a “rain bomb”.
Many communities across the greater south-east of the state and the Fraser Coast saw record rainfall, with many receiving more than a meter of rain in less than 24 hours, which in many areas equaled more than 85 per cent of normal total annual rainfall.
During this challenging time, the QTU was able to support many members whose houses saw complete inundation. This year, 174 members have accessed a grant from the QTU Natural Disaster Relief Fund with grants totaling $156.800.
This will not be the last natural disaster our members face. But it is good to know your Union can support members when it counts.
Each year, when the QTU Council endorses the QTU Budget, the Natural Disaster Relief Fund is topped up to a total of $200,000.
Members who are financial at the time of a natural disaster can apply for a grant of up to a maximum of $1,000 from the fund if they have lost possessions because of damage to their principal place of residence.
This funding is to assist members in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, before other relief such as federal and state government grants and insurance claims can be processed. It is not a substitute for insurance.
Each application is assessed individually prior to payments being made.
It is important to note that funds are not normally provided for damage incurred to vehicles and will not be available for the repair of external fixtures and fittings, such as fencing, sheds/garages, gardens, or landscaping.
By Brendan Crotty, Deputy General Secretary (Member Organising)
One of the many QTU members to turn to their Union for help during the recent flooding was Margaret Toich from Windsor. Here she details what she went through.
After a week of relentless rain, I awoke on Sunday morning pretty concerned that the overnight deluge was the heaviest it had been all week.
I opened the front door to check my car, as I had parked it on the street, and to my surprise the inundation of rain overnight had resulted in my car being swamped with water. We were advised by the SES to evacuate, and by the time my son and I left in canoes, the water was level with my car bonnet. I was still holding on to the hope that the rain would stop and the waters would recede, but unfortunately it only got worse and continued to pour down.
As Monday dawned, I heard that my house was cut off, as the banks of the Brisbane River had broken overnight.
A few days later I was able to return, and it honestly looked like a hurricane had ripped through the bottom level of my house. Apart from the shock, I felt completely overwhelmed and had no idea where to start with the clean-up. Stuff was strewn everywhere. Logs, tree trunks, branches, doors and even air freshener appeared on my doorstep from elsewhere. My fence had been completely knocked down. I had no electricity, and my hot water system was trashed when it was bowled over by a visiting tree trunk. As I write this, I still don’t have hot water; however, the electricity was reconnected again recently.
Fortunately, I was given natural disaster leave by my school to help with the clean-up process. This time has helped a great deal, but I still had a huge amount to go. To help with the clean-up, I hired a few people from Airtasker and some family members and friends kindly offered to assist. I have probably lost $50,000 worth of contents, as I was in the middle of a renovation and a lot of the materials to be used in it were destroyed.
Of all the losses, it was most upsetting to throw out the sentimental items belonging to my son and I - they are irreplaceable.
I am so grateful to the QTU for offering me the $1,000 Natural Disaster Assistance Grant. This has gone towards replacement of my hot water system.
The kindness and support of colleagues has been wonderful. I’m so grateful to have such a supportive network of people in my life. Onward and upward!