“When deciding who we vote for, it will count”

Published on 23 November 2017

Kerrs outside house

Since the State Election was announced, Rockhampton Regional Council has been meeting with candidates from all the major parties to make their election priorities clear. Council is asking candidates to support key projects across the Region targeted at driving economic growth, increasing tourism numbers, creating local jobs, and building key infrastructure.

One of the crucial asks is support for the next stage of flood mitigation work. Tom and Jean Kerr, an elderly couple who live in Berserker and benefited from the first stage, said candidates’ stance on this work will influence their own – and their neighbours’ votes – come Election Day.

“We were flooded every time up until this year. We had to take a suitcase full on whatever we thought we needed, our personal papers, and of course we were worried about it getting up into the house. It was pretty disruptive and as you get older, it gets much more stressful,” Mrs Kerr said.

“It disrupted our daughter’s life too. She’s got her own life and you get settled in your own ways.”

Mr Kerr said it wasn’t just the obvious impacts of flooding which made their lives difficult.

“They had to turn off the power, so we lost all of the food we had in the fridge and freezer. Our neighbours have stables with horses, and they had to find somewhere for all the horses and the feed and everything to go to, which was very disruptive.”

Following the completion of Stage One of the flood mitigation works, Tom and Jean’s house was one of the hundreds of homes protected when the rain came in April of this year.

“I was still thinking it might, it just might. When it didn’t, when there was not one drop of water, we were so happy. It was heaven not to have to go anywhere,” said Mrs Kerr.

“It was bliss. Even though I was still washing by hand it was good because you’re thinking I’m not walking in water up to my knees to get anywhere.”

Both Mr and Mrs Kerr said it was very important to them and their neighbours that State Election candidates for Rockhampton pledged their support to fund Stage Two.

“It’s very important the candidates support it. It’s probably one of the most important things to be done. When deciding who we vote for, it will count.”

“You just don’t know how devastating it is until you’ve been through it yourself, and we need to protect other people who are still facing this risk. People can’t get into their houses, it’s hard to get to work, it’s hard for the kids to get to school – it’s not good at all.”

Acting Mayor Cr Tony Williams said support for the project was vital, and said it was time for candidates to make their intentions clear.

“It is only fair that voters know which candidates are willing to publicly support and commit to the projects which can help transform and protect our Region, and which candidates are not. That information can then inform their decision come polling day. Candidates must make their views and intentions known, and they must do it now."