Bring troops home from Afghanistan to help with Qld flood crisis

January 10, 2011

The statement below was released by the Brisbane Socialist Alliance branch on January 11. See for more information. Below the statement, there are also details of the Maritime Union of Australia's

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'Money for flood relief, not for war'

'The Queensland flood crisis is now a national emergency on a historic scale. It now requires urgent and unprecedented action. We call on the Gillard federal government to call our troops back from the war in Afghanistan to assist with tackling the flood crisis and its aftermath," Ewan Saunders, Socialist Alliance Queensland co-convenor, said today.

"After the flood disaster in Rockhampton and elsewhere in central Queensland, we have seen the flash floods hit Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley, and the looming floods now threatening to submerge large parts of Brisbane.

"Combined, these represent the greatest flood disaster in Queensland and possibly Australian, history," Saunders added.

"We need the urgent reassignment of massive state and national emergency relief resources to deal with the immediate crisis, as well as the truly massive rebuilding job which will be required in Queensland.

"As Premier Bligh and Prime Minister Gillard have stated, the cost to the public purse of reconstructing infrastructure will be enormous. We need an urgent redirection of national priorities - first and foremost, the redeployment of our forces in Afghanistan from fighting a useless and immoral war to a socially useful purpose in helping to clean up and repair flood damage in Queensland.

"All available military helicopters should be made available, as soon as possible, to help with the flood.

"And the military resources now being wasted on the disastrous and unpopular war in Afghanistan, at a cost of many billions of Australian taxpayer dollars, should now be reallocated to the essential task of flood recovery work in Queensland.

"Let's put public funds to a positive use: Money for flood relief, not for war!" Saunders concluded.


Maritime Union of Australia Australian Flood Relief

The Maritime Union of Australia has set up an Australian Flood Appeal Fund. Members and friends of our union are encouraged to donate by way of personal donations, workplace collections etc.

Australian Flood Relief

The unfolding flood crisis in QLD and resulting devastation is expected to be in excess of the Brisbane floods of 37 years ago. You all would have seen the news reports of what is happening so will only cover a couple of salient points. After the 1974 floods the catchment above Brisbane was locked by the construction of the Wivenhoe Dam to safeguard Brisbane from future flood waters. That dam has never been at capacity since its construction but last night reached 193%. If and when it reaches 200% capacity there is no capability for controlled releases with the safety of the dam paramount.

That coupled with higher tides would spell disaster. At the moment the rain has stopped but the water is making its way south and the city is expecting the worst today and tomorrow. The Port was closed last night and vessels directed seaward. The river surge today with bigger tides may see the Port remain closed.

Many of our members will be affected and are volunteering assistance. With the urban sprawl it is working class families who have settled in the outer and low lying areas and they will cop the worst of it. The city was all but shut down last night and there will be devastation in the aftermath of this flood. Many deaths including young children have already occurred with the death toll expected to rise significantly.

National Secretary Paddy Crumlin has authorised the establishment of a relief fund to which Queensland Branch and the National Office have each pledged an initial $5,000 each and branches wishing to contribute should use the following numbers.

Account Number for internal (CU users internal transfers) account number: 802-884 4626S3 – Flood Appeal

Account number for external transfer (non credit union member) account number: 802-884 100 011 251 – Flood Appeal

Account details for International Transfers: MUA – General Fund

BSB Number: 062-006

Account number: 1001 0464

CBA Swiftcode: CTBAAU2S

Bank Address: George Street, Haymarket NSW 2000 AUSTRALIA

Reference for lodgement: Flood Appeal

The Maritime Mining and Power Credit Union has taken steps to mitigate the flood's awful impact including:

- Notifying members who are impacted by the floods to contact them for assistance in relation to their loan payments

- Working with both the MUA and CFMEU to ensure members are aware of the offer of assistance

- Identifying the number of home loans MMPCU holds in flood affected areas including Brisbane

- Supporting community activities that are designed to support flood impacted towns where members reside

- Having Business Development Officers offer their services to assist Union related initiatives particularly in Central Queensland

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