Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Mayor Sets Record Straight

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Mayor Sets Record Straight

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Burdon

AT THE peak of hysteria in Rockhampton, with families panic-buying supplies and some refusing to leave their homes despite rising water, Mayor Brad Carter made the toughest decision he has ever had to make.

As the flood water rose, so did Cr Carter's concern for the safety of residents in low-lying areas like Depot Hill.

He said that any parents who were facing flooding rising in their homes and did not evacuate their families were irresponsible, and would be putting emergency services volunteers at risk as well.

But his comments, seemingly directed at aSwampersa, were taken to be offensive to many in the Depot Hill community, who took pride in their tenacity and that typically Australian attitude; aShe'll be right, mate!a

For Cr Carter, it was one of the most challenging times of his first term as Mayor of Rockhampton Regional Council.

As messages poured in about the increased danger for residents who would not leave and emergency services staff who may have to forcibly evacuate them, Cr Carter demanded those in immediate danger evacuate.

While he said he always had the safety of Depot Hill residents at heart, a year on, he believes he made a mistake.

At the time, he told the city of Rockhampton that it was atotally irresponsiblea for a handful of parents to remain in their inundated homes with their children, and their choice to stay could put emergency volunteers at risk. Cr Carter said he now wanted the chance to set the record straight and make an official apology to the people of Depot Hill in print.

He said: aI made a clear decision to advise people that parents who have children who have decided to stay in a house that was inundated, that was irresponsible.

aEver since saying that, I have tried to tell people that I apologise for what I said a it was never intended to be taken as advice for everybody. …

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