'Support lifts the spirits': Minister Hinchliffe
QUEENSLAND'S Local Government Minister has toured fire affected areas of the Granite Belt while also reaffirming his boss's pledge on water.
Minister Hinchliffe was in Stanthorpe this afternoon where he met with Southern Downs Regional Council, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services as well as volunteers on the ground.
He was encouraged by the community spirit on show, despite the town battling "a disaster on top of a disaster”.
"That is the thing that is so confronting about this situation here is this is a disaster on top of a disaster,” he said.
"It is vitally important I see first hand what's going on here, not only in terms of the work gone on to protect the community from the devastating fire, but also the beginning of that recovery phase.
"It is really encouraging to see the way the community has come together to support each other in this key time as well.
"It genuinely lifts your spirits when you come through and see the damage - then see the way the community has come together in support of its fellow people.
"The community recovery process in these circumstances is not going to be the next few days, it's going to be around for a long time.”
Despite fires now raging in other pockets of Queensland, Stanthorpe won't be forgotten he said.
"No one is forgetting Applethorpe and Stanthorpe and that's why I'm here today.”
Mr Hinchliffe also addressed residents' water worries.
"Where we've seen the fantastic work done by QFES and the fireys - that's involved a bit of water.
"I've got to reiterate that the government is absolutely committed to making it clear that any water that is being used for firefighting purposes will be replaced.
"The Premier has made a commitment to this community that its not going to run out of drinking water and we will meet that need.
"The impacts of what's happened over the last few days hasn't been taken into the calculations of how we do that going forward, but it will be,” he said.
While visiting the showgrounds this afternoon Mr Hinchliffe met with the man who got that particular aid effort up and running, Jason Rogers.
The Warwick man struggled to hold back tears as he revealed the emotional toll of the last couple of days.
"You see so much that's been burned down,” Mr Rogers said.
"I'm a fairly tough sort of bloke and I don't let things get to me, but this is just overwhelming.
"I didn't do this to be a hero, I did it because I'm a bushie and that's just how you do things.”
On orders from Southern Downs Regional Council, charity group GIVIT will take over operations at the showgrounds from tomorrow.