Tragic end as Ben Roper found dead

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 31 Januari 2013 | 20.01

Sadly missed: Ben Roper. Picture: Twitter Source: The Daily Telegraph

THE body of missing Virgin flight attendant Benjamin Roper has been found by police in the basement of his Randwick apartment.

The discovery was made today following what police termed and ``extensive search'', which included a helicopter sweep of nearby waterways.

Police say the death is being treated non-suspicious.

The 32-year-old's disappearance sparked a wide-ranging search and social media campaign to track him down after he was last seen about 7pm on Saturday night.

Friends and family earlier speculated his disappearance may have been linked to homophobic voicemail messages he'd allegedly received from a blocked number on his mobile phone.

Police are now preparing a report for the coroner outlining the full circumstances of his death.

Mr Roper's mother, Michelle Pippen, and police earlier today told reporters they believed her son was in hiding over the mobile phone call threats.

***For support contact Lifeline 13 11 14***


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Thomson's bail ban from ex-sex partners

MP Craig Thomson denies any wrongdoing as he faces charges of 150 counts of fraud.

INDEPENDENT MP Craig Thomson has been bailed on fraud charges on condition he doesn't attempt to contact any person he allegedly sought sexual services from.

The bail condition was one of three read out to Mr Thomson by magistrate Susan McIntyre when he appeared at Wyong Court this afternoon on fraud charges.

Mr Thomson was formally charged with one count of misusing of a credit card to the value of $330. He did not enter a plea but was remanded to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 6.

The three bail conditions were: that he notify police within 24 hours of any change of address, that he give 24 hours notice of any travel overseas or interstate with the exception of travel to Canberra and that he not contact "directly or indirectly", in person or through another party, any person whom he has allegedly engaged for sexual services.

Mr Thomson, who represented himself, nodded when he was asked if he understood the bail conditions.

The court was told further charges were expected to be laid.

No further details of the charges were revealed in court.

Member for Dobell Craig Thomson being arrested at his Tuggerah office. Picture: Waide Maguire

Thomson: I did nothing wrong

Mr Thomson made a statement outside Wyong Court and said he would appear in court in Melbourne next week to "vigorously defend" against the charges.

"Under legal advice, I've been asked not to give a speech," he said.

"I've done no wrongdoing".

"As you can understand, given what has occurred today, it is inappropriate for me or anyone else to comment."

Police: Thomson refused to surrender

Craig Thomson's lawyer Chris McCardle slams the police and media over the handling of his client's arrest.

Police said Mr Thomson was arrested in his electorate office this afternoon after he refused to surrender himself, police said.

But Thomson's lawyer disputes this, saying his client was only invited to travel to Victoria for an interview.

The federal independent MP was arrested at his electorate office in Tuggerah, on the NSW Central Coast, on Thursday under a warrant from the Victorian police.

The NSW fraud squad assisted Victorian police in his arrest.

Head of the fraud squad, Detective Superintendent Colin Dyson, has seen the Victorian warrant.

"I believe from reading the warrant that he was invited to travel to Victoria to surrender himself prior to Christmas," Det Supt Dyson told reporters outside Wyong Police Station.

Media gathered outside the electorate office of Craig Thomson. Picture: Waide Maguire

"He didn't do that, or refused, and the end result was the issue of that warrant."

But Mr Thomson's lawyer, Chris McArdle, said the police version of events was "completely untrue".

The request for his client to travel to Victoria was to attend an interview, not surrender to police, he said.

"If we had been given that invitation we would have done so and we wouldn't have needed this reality TV show that's going on," he said.

Mr McArdle said he and his client would travel to Melbourne on Wednesday and follow the court's instruction after that.

"This is something out of the Roman colosseum; this man's been thrown to the lions," he said.

The Opposition leader questions Julia Gillard's judgment after it emerged Craig Thomson had been arrested over allegations of fraud.

"Five policemen arrested a man for minor misappropriation charges, which we deny. You don't need five policemen to do that. You only need five policemen if there's a risk of violence."

Det Supt Dyson said Mr Thomson was charged with one arrest warrant and served with paper relating to 149 charges.

He could not comment on the Victorian police probe, but added Mr Thomson "remains a person of interest" in a NSW police probe.

NSW Police's Operation Carnarvon is investigating allegations of fraud committed against the Health Services Union.

"He remains a person of interest in the Strike Force Carnarvon inquiry," Det Supt Colin Dyson said.

Asked about Mr Thomson's demeanour since his arrest, the policeman responded: "He has been co-operative. He has been very calm. He has accepted what has been said to him, he has not argued."

Craig Thomson is arrested at his Tuggerah office. Picture: Waide Maguire

Craig Thomson's arrest

Mr Thomson was arrested at his Dobell electorate office about 1.15pm today by officers from the NSW State Crime Command's Fraud and Cybercrime Squad.

Shocked shoppers watched as seven plainclothes officers attended Mr Thomson's electorate office in the Westfield Tuggerah shopping complex to serve the warrant for his arrest.

Four detectives went inside the office and emerged to escort Mr Thomson to a waiting unmarked police car.

Victorian police accompanied NSW colleagues to the building.

A coatless and tieless Mr Thomson, wearing a blue striped white shirt, said nothing as he walked 40m past shoppers to the car - with an officer each side of him and one behind him.

Labor MP Craig Thomson is being charged with 150 counts of fraud after being arrested today.

"Is he being arrested?" one shopper asked.

He sat in the middle of the back seat and was driven away.

Staff at the electorate office said they had no advance notice of the police raid and were upset Mr Thomson was not given  the opportunity to report to the police station in a pre-arranged meeting.

In a statement, NSW Police said a man, 48, was arrested following investigations into allegations of fraud committed against the Health Services Union.

"He was taken to Wyong Police Station where he is expected to be charged by virtue of the arrest warrant with a fraud offence," police said.

"It is expected he will go before Wyong Local Court where a further 149 fraud charges are to be laid.

Craig Thomson is arrested at his Tuggerah office. Picture: Waide Maguire

"It is anticipated that Victorian detectives will apply for the man's extradition to Victoria."

Lawyer slams 'the circus'

Mr Thomson's lawyer Chris McArdle was being interviewed by Sky as his client was being charged.

He stressed that Mr Thomson would be pleading not guilty on all charges.

He noted that Mr Thomson's forthcoming appearance at Wyong Local Court was a "formality" and that the politician would appear in court in Victoria next week. He also objected to use of the term "extradited" in relation to Mr Thomson's journey to Victoria, saying it sounded like the accused was being forced.

Mr McArdle said the politician had been given no advance notice of the arrest and had briefly phoned the lawyer from the office as he was arrested, before going, without legal representation, with the police.

Craig Thomson is arrested at his Tuggerah office. Picture: Waide Maguire

He slammed the police for what he dubbed a "heavy-handed" approach to the arrest – and blasted the force for handing out press releases about the operation.

Mr McArdle called the proceedings a "circus" and queried why there was a need for five police – two from Victoria and one from NSW – to make the arrest.

"Two from Victoria, three from NSW – why did they not just have one of each?" he asked. "What were the others doing, handing out press releases?"

Taking aim at the fact a TV camera captured the arrest, Mr McArdle said: "It's unbelievable that the rule of law has been supplanted by reality TV and a circus."

Without naming individuals, he also took a swipe at "rather unintelligent politicians" – urging them to "observe the rule of law" around the case.

"I call upon the circus performers to honour the rule of law".

"This fellow is innocent and will maintain his innocence throughout."

The Prime Minister tells reporters in Bundaberg she had no prior knowledge of the Dobell MP's arrest.

"He's been taken completely by surprise."

"He's done nothing wrong."

Mr Thomson has strenuously denied allegations he misused union funds to pay for prostitutes, air travel, entertainment and cash withdrawals when he was national secretary of the Health Services Union (HSU) from 2002 to 2007.

Health Services Union responds news

The Health Services Union's national president Chris Brown said he had been expecting charges against Thomson since before Christmas.

"It's something we have been working with Victoria Police with," he said.

"It was anticipated to happen prior to Christmas but it has taken a bit longer."

PM unaware of arrest

Prime Minister Julia Gillard was touring the flood damage in Bundaberg this afternoon and refused to comment on the arrest, saying it was a "matter for police".

"I have been focused here and what has been happening in these communities," she said.

"I know there has been some media reports."

Abbott: 'This reflects on the PM'

The Opposition is expected to use the arrest to step up its campaign against the "judgement" of the Prime Minister in the run up to the September 14 election.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott couldn't prevent a smile when asked today if the police action meant he would cease comments on the former Labor MP's role in the HSU controversy.

"We have certainly respected or tried to respect the rule that you do not comment on the specifics of cases which are currently before the courts. And we will respect that rule," he told the National Press Club.

Shadow attorney general George Brandis and other senior colleagues had been scrupulous in observing this rule, he told the NPC.

"But the Thomson matter isn't just about what Craig Thomson may or may not have done, what he did or didn't do,'" said Mr Abbott.

"It's always been about the judgement of the Prime Minister."

"And you certainly can't expect that there won't be questions raised about prime ministerial judgement by the Coalition."

Ms Gillard said she did not want to engage in the "argy-bargy" of Mr Abbott's comments.

Federal government frontbencher Craig Emerson said Mr Thomson was entitled to the presumption of innocence.

-  Errol Smith, Mal Farr, Stephen Drill and AAP


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Train crash investigation to take months

A Cleveland train station worker hugs his relieved family after this morning's accident. Picture: Richard Walker Source: The Courier-Mail

TEN people have been taken to hospital after a commuter train derailed and smashed into a station in Brisbane's southeast this morning.

The train struck Cleveland station about 9.40am this morning, damaging the platform and exposing live electrical wires.

At 6.36pm Queensland Rail said crews were gearing up to remove the train that ploughed into Cleveland station.

It is expected crews will take about 13 hours to remove the three remaining carriages.

Services are suspended between Cleveland and Wellington Point and buses are being used instead.

A passenger train east of Brisbane has failed to stop at the end of the line and crashed into the station.

Queensland Rail said these arrangements would remain in place until at least early next week.

At 4.15pm Queensland Rail announced an investigation into the train crash at Cleveland is expected to take three months.

Addressing the media at the scene this afternoon, acting chief executive officer Jim Benstead said he would not speculate on what caused the train to overshoot the station and crash through a toilet block.

A WOMAN at Cleveland train station following this morning's derailment. PIC: Richard Walker

He said investigators would use CCTV footage, information from the train's "black box" and statements from witnesses to determine the cause of the crash.

At 1.18pm it was learned that all those injured in the crash had been released from hospital.

Redland Hospital's Medical Services director, Doctor Rosalind Crawford, confirmed that 10 patients with minor injuries including cuts, bruises, back and shoulder pain, were treated in the emergency department following the crash.

Dr Crawford said Redland Hospital prepared for the influx of casualties by transferring existing patients from the emergency department to hospital wards.

A train derailed and collided with Cleveland Station around 9.40am Thursday. Picture: Richard Walker

Additional medical and nursing staff members from other areas of the hospital were also placed on stand-by.

"It is our standard practice to prepare for a worst case scenario," Dr Crawford said.

"In the initial stages of the emergency, we did not know how many people were involved, and what their injuries would be.

"Staff from across the hospital worked together smoothly and swiftly to prepare for a serious event involving multiple casualties and I'd like to acknowledge their professionalism."

Scenes from the train crash at Cleveland station. Picture: David Smythe

At 12.35pm, it was learned that Cleveland's senior firefighter found himself scarily close to the action in today's train crash: his teenage son was among those in the station at the time of the disaster.

Acting Cleveland station manager Rob Hawxwell was at the scene responding to the crisis when he received a call from his wife saying his son was also on site.

The 16-year-old had been seconds from entering the station's male toilets - which were destroyed - when the train hit the facility.

"My son just came into the station and was going to the bathroom when he heard a loud bang," Mr Hawxwell said.

A train derailed at Cleveland Train Station. Photo SUPPLIED

"He was very lucky and got out of the station very quickly."

Mr Hawxwell said his son was just seconds from disaster.

"It wasn't a good message to get," he said.

With about 15 firefighters working to help the 13 train passengers from the train, Mr Hawxwell said the scene was apocalyptic.

People are treated for minor injuries following a train crash at Cleveland station. Picture: David Smythe

While the passengers were able to crawl through the back of the train in a matter of minutes after the crash, emergency crews took about an hour to cut power.

Downed power lines were strewn over some of the train's carriages.

A station worker's wife rushed to the scene as well, fearing the worst; thankfully, the recent train station refurbishment included moving the office to the back of the building.

The couple and their son reunited at the station.

A train derailed at Cleveland Train Station. Photo SUPPLIED

An eye-witness, Mikayla Gedye, 17, was one of the first on the scene, rushing to pull a woman from the station toilets.

Waiting on nearby Harbourview Court for RACQ to help with her broken down car, Miss Gedye said she couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the train crash into the station.

"My friend and I pulled a girl out of the toilets, we weren't sure if any guys were in the male bathroom but she was trapped."

Calling triple zero, Miss Gedye said the girl, about her own age, was shaken but fine.

"We wrenched the door open and got her out," she said.

Describing the scene, Miss Gedye said the train was completely through the wall.

"You could see the wall had half fallen down." 

At 11.34am, it was reported that a "technical flaw" with the braking mechanism is believed to have caused the shocking crash.

Owen Doogan from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union said he was very relieved it was not a major catastrophe for the general public, as it could have been.

"I understand the driver did everything he could to stop the train," Mr Doogan said.

"I also have a clear understanding there is a fundamental concern with the braking mechanism, that meant the driver wasn't able to operate as he would normally going into a station."

The Rail Safety Regulator has been informed, and Queensland Rail is expected to launch an investigation.

At 11.20am, it was reported that 19 people in total were examined for injuries.

Wynnum Police District Superintendent Jim Keogh said the outcome could have been "catastrophic" if a person had been in the station's male bathroom, which was destroyed in the crash.

"It was a dramatic accident," he said.

"The men's toilet here has been all but destroyed, but fortunately no one was in the men's toilet at the time.

"We got out of it by the skin of our teeth... it could have been catastrophic."

Supt Keogh could not say how fast the six-carriage train was going at the time of the crash.

Thirteen people plus a driver were on the train while two staff members were in the office and two people were waiting on the platform. There was one person in the female toilets.

"The driver is shaken, understandably," Supt Keogh said.

Those hurt suffered minor injuries and are being treated for shock at Redlands Hospital.

The driver and guard were among those taken to hospital, but mostly as a precaution.

At 11.10am, the Department of Community Safety said 14 people in total were injured in the crash, though only 10 people were taken by ambulance to Redlands Hospital.

A spokesman said the injured were "all walking around wounded" and nobody was carried from the scene.

At 10.55am, authorities had finished searching the train and station building and all people were accounted for.

Onlookers Lyn and Gavin Fullerton heard the sirens from their Cleveland home and rushed to the scene.

"I've never heard so many sirens in my life," Mrs Fullerton said.

"It's normally so quiet around here."

The couple said the station had only recently been upgraded to include GoCard turnstiles.

"Normally the trains slow down as they go around the corner but it obviously hasn't happened," Mr Fullerton said.

The line had been closed for several days as Translink dealt with damage caused by the weekend's wild weather.

Witnesses described how the moving train kept going at some speed into the new terminal building, before finally coming to a stop 15m into the recently-refurbished structure.

Wayne Hartley, owner of nearby Redlands Realty, said the sound of the train hitting the station was deafening.

"It was chaotic; everyone from surrounding businesses came rushing out to see what we could do to help," he said.

The front carriage of the train struck the station barrier, lifting the train off the ground and launching it onto the platform behind it.

Mr Hartley said he believed a woman may have been in the restrooms located at the entrance to the platform at the time as the train crashed but was unable to confirm any further details.

Around 10.15am, paramedics had boarded the train and were in the process of treating injuries to passengers in a nearby cordoned-off area, he said.

There are no confirmed reports of any serious injuries at this stage. Eight people were reported to have suffered minor injuries.

"There were no screams of pain, it went very quiet after the crash," Mr Hartley said.

The local area has been evacuated.

Power problems have been experienced on the Cleveland line throughout the morning, and arose again shortly before the derailment.

It is not clear if the power issues contributed to the crash.

Yasmin Aldiosio, who works at the dental studio across the road from the Cleveland rail station, described hearing a bang but presumed it was a car crash and did not think much of it at the time.

"We initially thought it was a car accident because the bang was not that loud," she said.

"Then later a patient looked out the window and saw smoke (billowing) from the train."

"The scene is busy at the moment - there are so many trucks and ambulance blocking the view."

The station is the last stop on the Cleveland line.

It was initially thought a woman with serious head injuries was on the train but ambulance officers and QFRS teams were unable for a time to get access to her due to live electrical wires.

Buses have been organised to run in the place of trains from Murarrie but passengers on the Cleveland line have been warned to expect 60-minute delays.


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Fears grow for missing flight attendant

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 30 Januari 2013 | 20.01

As police continue to search for 32 year-old Ben Roper, his loved ones have turned to Facebook and Twitter seeking information about his whereabouts.

POLICE say there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a Virgin flight attendant who has not been seen since leaving his eastern Sydney home on Australia Day.

Benjamin Roper, 32, left his mobile phone, car and other belongings behind at his property in Prince Street, Randwick, about 7pm on January 26.

Bra Boy founding member Sunny Abberton said he had known Mr Roper well growing up and was hoping he would turn up safely.

"I haven't seen him for a while - we grew up with him... it's kind of a personal, that's all I want to say right now."

Police suspect Mr Roper may have come to harm.

"We know that his phone is still at home, we know that his car is still at home and he hasn't taken anything," Superintendent Gavin Dengate told reporters today.

"That in itself is suspicious, by his character.


"You put that together, knowing that he was from very much a loving and caring environment - it causes us some concern."

Supt Dengate said detectives are following a number of leads and have spoken to Mr Roper's employers, who had been helpful.

He said there was little in Mr Roper's private life to suggest a reason for his disappearance.

"We all have ups and down but we're not treating that as the only area of inquiry - we're looking at a number of areas at the moment," Supt Dengate added.

Police hope social media may provide a breakthrough in the case.

A number of online campaigns have been launched to help find Mr Roper.

Comedian Julia Morris tweeted: "A family friend of mine is missing in Sydney. Please look at this page & contact Maroubra Police if u know anything." Professional ironwoman Candice Falzon tweeted: "Please retweet in the hope of finding Ben. He has been missing since Saturday. Thanks."

Inspector Leonard James said police had serious concerns about Mr Roper's safety.

"From what I understand, he was in a steady relationship. He appears to be a well-liked person who does his job well and that this is very much out of the ordinary for him," he said.

Insp James said Virgin has been assisting police with their inquiries.

Mr Roper is described as Caucasian, 180cm tall, with a medium build brown hair which is shaved on the sides.

He also has a number of distinctive tattoos, including a flame design on his upper right arm and the numbers 2035 on his back.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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Police 'find body of sixth victim'

Grave fears for two men lost while the cleanup and recovery effort is now in full swing in Brisbane.

A SECOND body has been discovered in the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane, bringing the death toll from the Queensland floods to six.

The Toowoomba Chronicle is reporting that the body, presumed to be missing Taiwanese man Jerry Yukun, was found 300 metres from where cars were found submerged in the flooded Sandy Creek at Glen Cairn.

Police media could not confirm the reports.

Mr Yukun, 25, went missing at the same time as a Malaysian farm worker, 34, whose body was found this morning.

The men, who were in separate cars, had been travelling from Gatton to Mulgowie to start work at a farm at 5am (AEST) and are believed to have been swept off the road by floodwaters.

A white 1997 Mitsubishi Magna, which police believe was being driven by the 25-year-old Taiwanese man, was found in the area yesterday afternoon.

"We're not too sure if they were known to each other,'' a police spokesman told AAP.

Vowing to rebuild Queensland, Premier Campbell Newman announced a Flood Appeal Committee, headed by former Bligh government treasurer Terry Mackenroth.

Governor General Quentin Bryce visits Bundaberg Hospital evacuee June Roberts with Premier Campbell Newman and his wife Lisa Newman. Picture: Philip Norrish

With the magnitude of the disaster becoming apparent, Mr Newman said the destruction to Queensland had been "absolutely massive''.

He called on the support of all Queenslanders to help rebuild.

"We can do this,'' he told reporters in Brisbane today.

Those confirmed dead are a three-year-old boy who had a tree fall on him in Brisbane and three men who died in floodwaters: one south of Brisbane, one at Burnett Heads near Bundaberg, and the other near Gympie.

In worst-hit Bundaberg, which was devastated as the Burnett River peaked at a record 9.6 metres, authorities moved into recovery mode today after the floods inundated about 2000 homes and 200 businesses.

Mr Newman said soldiers were en route to the sugar-farming town where more than 7500 residents have been forced to seek refuge in evacuation shelters or with family and friends.

A man comforts his daughter on their roof as they inspect damage to their neighbourhood in Bundaberg. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

"This morning we have 120 soldiers from the Enoggera army barracks in 44 vehicles heading north to Bundaberg,'' Newman told the ABC.

More army resources were on standby to help in Bundaberg and other surrounding flood-hit communities, he added.

An ABC reporter in the town said petrol stations had run out of fuel while a helicopter and boats were resupplying some of the smaller settlements around the area that remain cut off.

Meanwhile police said three people, including two teenage girls and a 25-year-old man, had been charged with looting in the Queensland town of Gympie during flooding there.

While Brisbane escaped the worst of the floodwaters, the deluge damaged water treatment plants and Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said there were concerns parts of the city of two million could run out of water.

"There is still a very real concern that water could run out,'' he told reporters, although Newman said provisions were in place to supply bottled water to any areas affected.

A boy has died after a tree fell on him and his mother, bringing the death toll from the flood emergency to four.

Governor-General Quentin Bryce urged the nation to dig deep and donate to Queensland's flood disaster victims, during an emotional visit to Bundaberg Hospital evacuees in Brisbane.

Ms Bryce said the people of Bundaberg are facing an extreme situation and urged Australians to give all the support they can.

"Come on Australians, remember who we are, what we stand for, our generosity, our volunteerism, our care for others,'' she told reporters outside the Royal Brisbane Hospital.

In Brisbane, the key challenge in the coming days will be to maintain water supplies after the flooding forced the shutdown of two processing plants.

Stocks of bottled water have been positioned around Brisbane amid fears taps could run dry in some suburbs today.

Flooding in the Brisbane River catchment has caused major problems at water treatment plants at Mt Crosby.

The streets of Bundaberg are underwater today. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Repair crews are making some progress and have them partially running again, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says.

But there are fears they could break down again due to the extremely high amount of mud being carried by water feeding into the plants.

The suburbs at risk of losing mains water supply include Tarragindi, Camp Hill, Carina, Mount Gravatt, Tingalpa, Rocklea, and Oxley.

Premier Campbell Newman said supplies of bottled water have been positioned on the southside in case supplies run out.

''If any reservoir runs dry, we'll be immediately providing that for distribution to local areas,'' he told ABC television.

''This is very serious.''

Flood waters peaked at 9.53 metres in Bundaberg yesterday and began receding overnight. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

He said residents across Brisbane and Ipswich must limit water use to the necessities of drinking, bathing and cleaning until the treatment plant was back on line.

Queensland Urban Utilities says production at the Mount Crosby plant has increased, but consumption is also going up - despite the call for people to conserve water.

He said water in Brisbane was currently being drawn from three sources - the Mount Crosby plant, North Pine dam and from a southern connector pipe drawing water from areas south of the city.

He said he expected to decide by about midday whether to make the bottled water stocks available to people in at-risk suburbs.

Mr Lewis said releases from Wivenhoe dam, that would help dilute the silt in water feeding into the Mount Crosby treatment plants, would gradually help production return to normal.

But he could not say exactly when full production would resume.

The sun rises over the Burnett river in Bundaberg today. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

For more on Queensland's recovery, see The Courier Mail

There was also a big clean up task ahead in the Lockyer Valley, and particularly in the town of Laidley, Mr Newman said.

''They haven't been forgotten out there, but there is great difficulty in getting around,'' he said.

The crisis was not over, with flooding expected in Rockhampton from Friday or Saturday, Mr Newman said.

''I advise people to plan trips carefully. They won't be able to get past Rockhampton later this week.''

In Maryborough, a young man who went missing while swimming in floodwaters has been found alive and well.

Residents of these Bundaberg homes will have to wait for water to recede before they can return for a mammoth clean-up. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

He had been seen swimming between the Queensland city's courthouse and Lennox Street on Monday night.

Police said the man, whose age is not known, was found this afternoon.

There was also good news for a hiker who set off alone for a bushwalk in central Queensland.

The 36-year-old man was was found in the Mount Dalrymple area at 9.30am today.

He started a solo day trek at Mount Dalrymple on Tuesday morning, west of Mackay and police were told at 10.45pm (AEST) that he'd failed to return.

A search began at first light  involving an RACQ Rescue helicopter.

A young woman cleans up debris in her Bundaberg street. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Also today police ruled out  the possible drowning of a woman at Pacific Haven near Maryborough.

A witness reported seeing a woman drive into flood waters there on Sunday .

But police  today said there had been no reports of anyone missing in that area.

Mr Newman toured Bundaberg on Tuesday and urged Queenslanders to aid disaster victims.

"They all need our support. We've got to reach out and help them now," he said.

WHERE TO TURN TO FOR HELP AND INFORMATION

Sisters Sandra and Michelle Dorron in Bundaberg, at the Agro Trend evacuation centre start the search for clothes. Photo Paul Beutel

NSW:

Government Flood Information

Ministry for Police and Emergency Services

NSW flood warnings

Queensland:

Guide to essential services

Tweed Valley in NSW this morning, not normally a wet area. Picture: mockingbirdcafe/Twitter

QLD flood warnings

Brisbane city council flood maps

Mr Newman also paid tribute to the resilience of residents, who in some cases have weathered four floods in three years.

About 2000 homes and 200 businesses were inundated when the river reached a record height on Tuesday afternoon.

More than 7500 displaced residents are seeking refuge in evacuation centres or with friends and family on higher ground.

"It's incredible to see the spirit of Queenslanders out on the streets of their cities and towns as they grapple with what is a big crisis."

Voluteers prepare food at temporary evacuation centre in Bundaberg. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Governor-General Quentin Bryce today will visit the valley towns of Laidley, Grantham and Withcott after spending time at a Brisbane hospital with patients evacuated from Bundaberg.

The news was better for residents of Brisbane and Ipswich in the southeast, where water levels peaked lower than expected.

Early indications are that water stayed below floorboard level in Brisbane, while about 35 homes in Ipswich had water in their living areas.

It was a world away from the disaster of January 2011.

Then, tens of thousands of homes in the southeast were inundated and Brisbane's damage bill ran into the tens of millions.

As the flood waters recede, attention will turn to the huge damage bill and recovery task.

Already 9800 insurance claims have been lodged in Queensland worth a combined $116 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.

The damage to infrastructure is still being assessed but it's been estimated the bill will still reach the hundreds of millions, without counting crop and livestock losses.

The Queensland Premier is urging people to donate to the government's Queensland Flood Appeal which is being coordinated with Red Cross.

Bruce Grady from Emergency Management Queensland said all efforts were underway to reach isolated communities outside the major flood-hit centres.

''While Bundaberg is the focus, we haven't forgotten about those other isolated communities,'' he told the Seven Network.

''I can assure everyone we have our best efforts in place to make sure we get to all of those communities as quickly as we possibly can.''

Bundaberg flooding is seen from space through NASA's telescope lens. Picture: Chris Hadfield/NASA/ https://twitter.com/Cmdr_Hadfield/status/296199814838894592

Meanwhile, Mr Newman opened his wallet after a patient evacuated from flooded Bundaberg complained about the cost of hiring a TV.

Mr Newman and Governor-General Quentin Bryce spent time with evacuees at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital hospital today.

When patient Sean Crozier complained to the Premier about the $30 cost of hiring a TV, Mr Newman handed him a $50 note.

The Premier had earlier said every Queenslander must do their bit to help those affected by the state's latest disaster.

In NSW, a massive clean-up is under way in the state's north as floodwaters subside, but some communities remain cut off and townspeople and farmers are struggling without power and supplies.

State Emergency Service Clarence-Nambucca spokeswoman Sam Colwell said while the Clarence River had dropped from Tuesday's record levels, Yamba and Iluka at the river's mouth were likely to be isolated for at least two more days.

An aerial view of East Bundaberg. Picture: Paul Beutel

The SES has issued a minor flood warning along the Macintyre River for Boggabilla in northwest NSW.

The river is expected to peak at 9.7 metres today.

Bogabbilla is about 9km downstream of the Queensland town of Goondiwindi, where major flooding is occurring with levels steady at 8.6 metres.

Minor flood warnings are also in place for the Hunter River at Singleton with a peak expected around midday (AEDT).

Moderate flooding is expected at Maitland later tonight and minor flooding from the Wollombi Brook occurred at Bulga, also in the Hunter region.

Meanwhile, the SES says major flooding continues to ease along the Clarence River at Grafton and Ullmarra.

The Clarence hit 3.1 metres near Maclean and is not expected to rise further, the Bureau of Meteorology said today.

On Tuesday, the river peaked at 8.08 metres in Grafton, upstream from Maclean, the highest level in recorded history.

About 750 people evacuated from Maclean on Tuesday night have been able to return after an ''all clear'' was issued this morning.

About 2000 people were evacuated from Grafton which avoided widespread devastation with waters only two centimetres below a level expected to cause severe inundation.

There's a possibility of showers around Maclean over the next few days, but the rain isn't expected to cause further flooding, the Bureau of Meteorology told AAP.

"It does appear as though the worst of it is over," NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said.

Mr O'Farrell jointly announced with Prime Minister Julia Gillard the declaration of 10 local government disaster areas to unlock federal and state funds for flood-hit families and businesses.

The Insurance Council estimates about 2000 claims worth $10 million have already been lodged in NSW.

For more on NSW's recovery, see The Daily Telegraph

Concerns remain for some towns downstream, including Yamba, Ulmarra and Maclean, but Mr O'Farrell said he was delighted the river level had gone down to 7.95m and was still dropping.

"Now we are in recovery mode," said State Emergency Services commissioner Murray Kear, as the low-pressure system responsible for the severe flooding in Queensland and NSW moved off the coast.

NSW escaped the loss of life suffered in Queensland, although 50 people had to be rescued and 3500 called for assistance, mainly around Grafton.

Citrus growers devastated by floods

Judy Shepherd, the secretary of the Gayndah and District Fruit Growers Association, says damage in the town and surrounding fruit orchards has been catastrophic.

She said the latest flood is the third natural disaster in recent years and she's afraid many growers won't recover.

As well, some citrus orchards had been completely wiped out, parts of others had simply dropped into the Burnett River and the infrastructure damage was enormous.

''We've heard of some that have gone,'' she told ABC television.

She said the impact on the region, particularly Gayndah and Mundubbera, would be severe and long-lasting.

''Catastrophic - hundreds of millions of dollars damage just in the citrus industry,'' she said.

Chief Executive of Citrus Australia Judith Damiani says there may be a shortage of Australian lemons in supermarkets for the start of the season in February.

About 50 per cent of Australia's lemons and 60 per cent of mandarins are produced in the Burnett region.

Ms Damiani said 40 farmers in the region say their packing sheds, irrigation systems, farm equipment and homes have been seriously damaged.

The damage bill will be higher than two years ago.

Insurers blame councils for flood damage

The fight over who is to blame for the damage from the Queensland floods has begun.

The Insurance Council of Australia says the local and state governments should and could have done more to protect their communities from flooding.

Nearly 10,000 claims have been lodged and the damage bill is $116 million and rising.

Brisbane-based Suncorp, the owner of AAMI and GIO, is set to be the worst affected of the major insurance companies, already fielding about 4000 claims for flood and storm damage.

Insurance Council of Australia CEO Rob Whelan says some of the damage could have been avoided if the state and local governments had done more.

He said the state government's flood mitigation budget was not enough.

''$40 million is good but it needs way more than that,'' he told ABC's Lateline program on Tuesday.

''Let's take a levee for example, $15 million roughly to build a levee, but that may actually save that community $100 million.''

Mr Whelan singled out Brisbane and Ipswich as councils that could have done more, especially by preventing development in certain areas, or insisting that homes be built on stilts.

''Mitigation works and control of certain flood areas and prevention of development in certain areas actually will increase the overall level of protection in the community and lower the overall level of risk, which goes to the premiums and the costs,'' he said.

''If you continue to build developments on a flood plain, ultimately they're going to be affected and that's what we've been doing for the last 20, 30, 40 years.''

The comments outraged Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, who says Mr Whelan is in for a war.

''The whole of Australia, the whole of Queensland and all of these people are hurting and you want to come in and start the blame game,'' he told ABC.

''It's very un-Australian.''

Mr Pisasale said the council had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on flood mitigation and had stringent town planning requirements.

He said he would talk to federal Financial Services Minister Bill Shorten seeking further reforms to the insurance industry.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman doesn't have a problem with a debate about what more could be done for flood mitigation, but questioned the appropriateness of the timing of Mr Whelan's comments.

He said a statewide flood mitigation program is underway, where local government chips in $20m and the state $40m.

''We're getting on with it,'' he said.

''Would we like to put more money in? Yes.

''More needs to be done to find engineering solutions or alternative innovative solutions to protect our communities and make them more resilient.''

Mr Newman said he'd be fighting in the corner of people who are going to need insurance payouts.

But he said that although the state and local governments had chipped into the statewide flood mitigation scheme, the federal government was yet to come to the table.

He had asked the Commonwealth to contribute $40 million.

''So far we actually haven't had the federal government leaping to their feet to say, 'Hey we'll be part of this','' he said.


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Flood death toll rises as man's body found

Watch the Brisbane River rise due to the ongoing flooding problems around the state.

QUEENSLAND is a state tormented by water. In Bundaberg and other towns, thousands of people remain homeless. In Brisbane, residents face running out of water because of flood-related problems at the city's largest treatment plant.

7.03pm: Floodwaters are dropping slowly in Logan, south of Brisbane.

Logan Mayor Pam Parker says eight homes in Logan Reserve have had water through them, 7500 are without power, and about 200 residents in the suburb of Buccan are isolated.

5.35pm: Bundaberg police have sent a helicopter to catch looters in some flooded areas.

Looters were spotted in kayaks and tinnies roaming around abandoned houses about 5pm.

At this stage , it is not known which areas of Bundaberg have been affected by looting.

A car being pulled from Sandy Creek between Gatton and Laidley. Picture courtesy Channel 9.

3.13pm: THE death toll in the Queensland floods has risen to six with the discovery of a second body in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, on Wednesday.

The body of a 34-year-old man was found in a car submerged in Sandy Creek at Glen Cairn, near Gatton, on Wednesday morning.

The body of a 25-year-old man was found nearby by police divers several hours later.

Their cars were swept off the road by floodwaters as the two men drove from Gatton to Mulgowie to start work at a farm at 5am on Sunday.

Three other men have died in floodwaters and a three-year-old boy died after a tree fell on him in Brisbane.

Robert Holtzberger returns to his Glenforest, Bundaberg, home for the first time after flooding. PIC: Paul Beutel

Police media could not confirm the reports.

3pm: ABOUT seven suburbs of Brisbane remain at risk of running out of water as authorities work to bring a major water treatment plant back online.

The Mt Crosby Water Treatment plant is still operating at less than 50 per cent capacity.

It has put some suburbs in Brisbane's southern suburbs at risk of running dry.

Premier Campbell Newman confirmed water consumption had risen since a warning was issued yesterday for residents to conserve water, but would not speculate on whether panicked residents were stockpiling water.

"If people had continued to use water at the normal rate that is where there could have been potential, and there still remains potential, for taps to run dry," Mr Newman said.

Governor General Quentin Bryce visits Bundaberg Hospital evacuee June Roberts with Premier Campbell Newman and his wife Lisa Newman. Picture: Philip Norrish

He urged residents not to panic buy bottled water, saying bottled water supplies had been positioned around Brisbane should the town water supply run out.

A total 210 Australian Defence Force soldiers are on their way to Bundaberg, where further evacuations are taking place.

Extra police have also been stationed around flooded towns to stop looters raiding shops.

2.40pm: PREMIER Campbell Newman has announced a flood appeal committee to oversee the distribution of disaster relief funds.

The committee will be headed by former deputy premier Terry Mackenroth.

Members will include State MP Liz Cunningham and Local Government Association of Queensland Greg Hallam.

Pallets of bottled water are waiting at sites in Brisbane's south, guarding against a possible shortfall in public supplies. Picture: Britt Vonow

Mr Newman promised the delays that dogged the 2011 disaster relief funding distribution would not occur.

"Australians can be absolutely confident every dollar donated to this appeal will get to people in need," he said

It comes after the Commonwealth Bank donated $500,000 to the appeal and the ANZ Bank $400,000.

2pm: THE recovery operation has begun in Bundaberg as some residents return to their homes for the first time to survey damage.

Police patrols have also been stepped up to prevent looting, after some unconfirmed reports of people on boats stealing from flooded homes.

Tens of thousands of people in the region are believed to have been affected by flooding, including smaller towns like Winfield, Yandaran and Eidsvold.

Cathy Kable of Little Darlings childcare centre is concerned about running short of water. Picture: Brittany Vonow

The water in Bundaberg continues to recede at the rate of about 100mm to 150mm an hour, after peaking at a record 9.5m yesterday.

Police minister Jack Dempsey said the operation had shifted into recovery mode.

But authorities are urging displaced residents not to return home until they have been given the all clear because of the dangers.

Solar powered homes are considered an electrical risk.

A recovery centre has been established at the Wide Bay TAFE and at Bargara.

About 200 defence force personnel are anticipated to arrive today to help with the recovery.

THE possibility of restricted supply has prompted a rush on bottled water at Brisbane supermarkets, leaving shelves empty in some areas. PIC: Brittany Vonow.

The Don Tallon bridge over the Burnett River has been damaged at the northern access and will remain closed for two weeks.

The main Burnett Bridge to North Bundaberg will be assessed for structural integrity.

1.05pm: WATER tankers have been brought in to three southside Brisbane hospitals to guard against fire if local water supplies break down.

A spokesman for Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said a fire pump was also moving between the Princess Alexandra, QEII and Logan hospitals for use, if necessary.

Plans for the possibility of having to fight a fire at one of the hospitals had to be made after concerns about a potential disruption to the water supply.

Pallets of bottled water are waiting at sites in Brisbane's south, guarding against a possible shortfall in public supplies. Picture: Britt Vonow

The Mt Crosby Water Treatment Plant has not been operating at full capacity due to the amount of mud in pre-treated water as a result of the flood.

Brisbane residents have been asked to only use water for essential purposes - drinking, cooking, bathing and the toilet.

1.04pm: THE recovery operation has begun in Bundaberg as some residents return to their homes for the first time to survey the damage.

Police patrols have also stepped up to prevent looting, after some unconfirmed reports of people on boats stealing from flooded homes.

Tens of thousands of people in the region are believed to have been affected by flooding, including smaller towns like Winfield, Yandaran and Eidsvold.

The water in Bundaberg continues to recede at the rate of about 100mm to 150mm an hour, after peaking at a record 9.5m yesterday.

A man comforts his daughter on their roof as they inspect damage to their neighbourhood in Bundaberg. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Police minister Jack Dempsey said the operation had shifted into recovery mode.

But authorities are urging displaced residents not to return home until they have been given the all-clear.

Solar powered homes are considered an electrical risk.

A recovery centre has been established at the Wide Bay TAFE and Bargara.

The Don Tallon bridge over the Burnett River has been damaged at the northern access and will remain closed for two weeks.

The main Burnett Bridge to North Bundaberg will be assessed for structural integrity.

Thousands of people across Queensland are spending the night in evacuation centres because of flooding.

1pm: A MAN'S body has been found in a car submerged in a flooded creek near Gatton this morning, police have confirmed.

The discovery at Sandy Creek brings the Queensland flood death toll to five.

Police are yet to identify the body but it is believed to belong to a Malaysian farm worker, 34, who, along with a Taiwanese man, has been missing since Sunday.

Police and SES volunteers launched a search of creek beds in the Lockyer Valley after the pair, who were travelling in separate cars from Gatton to Mulgowie, failed to turn up to work at a Mulgowie farm for work on Sunday.

A white 1997 Mitsubishi Magna, which police believe was being driven by the 25-year-old Taiwanese man, was also found in the same area yesterday afternoon but they are yet to find a sign of the man.

Police said SES crews will continue to search the area.

A Private ex army LARC takes to the streets of East Bundaberg to help evacuate people. Picture: Paul Beutel

Anyone with information which could assist in police is urged to contact Policelink on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers.

12.41pm: BRISBANE residents may notice a change in the taste of drinking water during the next 24 hours but authorities maintain it is still safe to drink.

SEQwater said the taste may vary as supplies are brought in from North Pine dam and water grid sources on the Gold and Sunshine coasts to supplement the Mt Crosby Water treatment plant, which still remains partially operational.

The water quality still meets Australian drinking water standards and does not need to be boiled before use.

A spokesperson from SEQwater has confirmed the Mt Crosby treatment plant has increased production from 100 megalitres per day up to 240 megalitres per day but cautioned we are not out of the woods yet.

Residents are still being urged to conserve water for essential purposes only for the next 48 hours.

A house that has been washed from its foundations. Picture: Paul Beutel

12.38pm: THE threat of water shortages have hit businesses including childcare centres.

Speaking from Little Darlings Early Development Centre in Mt Gravatt, director Cathy Kable said power outages had not affected the centre but water shortages were worrying.

"We've got little drinking containers, filled them and made sure we had boiled them all," she said.

"It's probably not enough if we do run out though."

With babies often needing a bath, thirsty children and cleaning regulations that must be met, Ms Kable said she was unsure how centres like hers would cope.

"We would have about half a day's supply here... unless parents start bringing in big bottles of water for their child to drink."

12.35pm: THE Weather Bureau has dispelled concerns of a new cyclone forming off the Queensland coast.

Forecaster Michelle Berry said television reports of a low off Cairns forming into a cyclone were incorrect.

The low was 1000km east of the Australian continent and moving away.

"This is absolute rubbish," Ms Berry said. "There is a very weak low pressure system there but there's nothing much to get it going.

"The chances of it forming up would be 5 per cent to 20 per cent and on the low end of that.

"Because it's moving east, there's every chance it will be in Fiji's area of responsibility on Friday."

Aerial view of Bundaberg during flood crisis. Picture: Mark Calleja

12.25pm: POLICE have confirmed five people have been charged with looting in Gympie in the wake of flooding.

A Mary St hairdressing salon was robbed when the store was accidentally left unlocked after staff worked to move belongings away from flood waters.

It is believed two teenage girls, aged 14 and 16, have been charged with looting, after they were allegedly caught stealing hair straighteners and products at 11.35pm on Sunday.

Three other young men were arrested and charged with looting and related offences after they allegedly entered the flooded Royal Hotel.

The men are expected to appear at Gympie Magistrates Court on February 25.

12.20pm: A BODY is believed to have been found in a creek near Gatton during the search for two missing men.

There are reports a body has been discovered in a second submerged car at Sandy Creek but police could not confirm this.

 11.38am: LORD Mayor Graham Quirk is hopeful water supply issues will be resolved by close of business Thursday.

"There's no need for panic buying (of water) or panic actions, just plain and simple common sense and water conservation and we'll get through this without any issues," Cr Quirk said.

"At the moment we're holding."

Only one of Mt Crosby's two water treatment plants was working last night - and producing less water than usually capable of.

This morning, production levels had improved and the second plant was "online" but both plants could still fail, Cr Quirk said.

"Because of the quality of water going into those treatment plants they could shut down. That then would require a couple of hours of maintenance while filters are cleaned - that stops production," Cr Quirk said.

"So until we get a better quality of water flowing through, and we will as this mud and slush declines over time, we will then be able to increase the amount of water being supplied through that plant."

Dirty, soiled water from the Lockyer Valley coming down through the Bremer River is causing the current issues.

Meanwhile, Cr Quirk said that flooding in low lying areas was inevitable.

"The problem in low lying areas is that it's sometimes impossible to engineer your way out of those things," he said.

Cr Quirk said strong winds during the recent extreme weather event had done most of the damage in Brisbane.

In areas where power has been out for more than 48 hours, skip bins are available for people to dump spoiled food and green waste.

Also, opening hours at transfer stations have been extended so people can clear debris from their homes until Sunday night.

Find locations of the skip bins at brisbane.qld.gov.au

11.35am: GOVERNOR-GENERAL Quentin Bryce has arrived in Brisbane to visit critically ill patients airlifted from Bundaberg Hospital overnight.

Ms Bryce and Premier Campbell Newman are visiting Bundaberg patients at the Royal Brisbane and Women's hospital.

About 100 patients were airlifted from the Bundaberg Hospital overnight in a dramatic rescue as floodwaters lapped at the hospital's doors.

They were relocated to various hospitals around Brisbane.

Mr Newman was accompanied by his wife Lisa in the hospital visit.

He will provide an update on the flood disaster later today.

11.32am: FEDERAL Environment Minister Tony Burke should stop water from coal mines being released into Queensland's flooded waterways, environmentalists say.

Four BHP Mitsubishi Alliance mines in the Fitzroy River basin were last week allowed to carry out controlled releases of water in a pilot program announced by the state government last November.

But the Lock the Gate Alliance says at least 20 coal mines have released contaminated wastewater directly into rivers in Queensland since the floods began last week.

Alliance spokeswoman Ellie Smith said in some cases untreated water had been discharged directly from pollution ponds.

10.55am: SHOPPERS have rushed to supermarkets for water but have been left disappointed.

With reports that Brisbane could hit a water shortage by noon, supplies are selling out.

Holland Park West mother-of-three Andrea Mariot went to a Mt Gravatt supermarket, only to be confronted by empty shelves. "We still have water but we like to be prepared," she said.

Holland Park local Dawn Forester also went searching for water. "I think everyone panicked and bought water last night," she said.

Bottled water distribution points across Brisbane's south are not yet open.

10.35am: ABOUT 160 defence force personnel will arrive in Bundaberg today, followed by 100 more, to help begin the clean-up.

Army officers will hit the streets where water is starting to recede and check for dangers and structural damage.

Some are being deployed to outlying towns like Gayndah and Mundubbera.

10.20am: MOTORISTS have been told not to panic as rumours of fuel supply shortages spread across the state.

RACQ spokesperson Lauren Ritchie, said there are no reported fuel shortages at this stage and warns motorists not to stockpile fuel to allow priority for emergency services.

Petrol stations in Rockhampton through to Maryborough have experienced issues getting fuel into cut-off areas, but the RACQ confirmed supply trucks were just waiting for roads to re-open.

Ms Ritchie said fuel prices have so far remained stable and supply issues were expected to be rare.

10.11am: TRAINS from Beenleigh to Bethania have been suspended due to localised tidal flooding.

Queensland Rail is reporting that the line will be closed for several hours at least until the flood waters subside.

While this is not a major issue it will disrupt services on the Beenleigh and Gold Coast lines.

Trains are currently running from the CBD to Bethania, but passengers will need to transfer to buses after this point.

Delays of up to 30 minutes should be expected.

9.55am: WATER stations are being rolled out on Brisbane's southside but are yet to open as a possible water shortage looms.

It comes as Urban Utilities confirms water usage has gone up in the past 24 hours, putting more pressure on already critical levels

Around seven water stations have been set up by Queensland Urban Utilities.

Twelve pallets of bottled water have been waiting at a site at Camp Hill, guarded by a security guard and QUU worker.

Tarragindi local Chloe Jones arrived at the site in the hope of finding water but was turned away.

"We do have water at the moment but mum said it might run out by midday," she said.

"We haven't had power since Saturday."

But luckily the Jones family is living on a street partially hit by the power outages and have been helped by a kind neighbour who still has power.

"He's keeping our fridge... but otherwise we've been having barbecues," she said.

More locals have come for water but have had to be turned away.

It is unknown when or if the water stations will be opened.

9.23am: QUEENSLAND citrus growers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars, with some orchards entirely wiped out by flooding, one grower says.

Judy Shepherd, the secretary of the Gayndah and District Fruit Growers Association, says damage in the town and surrounding fruit orchards has been catastrophic.

She said the latest flood is the third natural disaster in recent years and she's afraid many growers won't recover.

As well, some citrus orchards had been completely wiped out, parts of others had simply dropped into the Burnett River and the infrastructure damage was enormous.

"We've heard of some that have gone," she told ABC television.

She said the impact on the region, particularly Gayndah and Mundubbera, would be severe and long-lasting.

"Catastrophic - hundreds of millions of dollars damage just in the citrus industry," she said.

8.30am: THIRTY SES volunteers will join police today searching creek banks in the Lockyer Valley region for two men who failed to turn up to work on Sunday.

Grave concerns are held for the pair after a car was found fully submerged in flood waters near Gatton yesterday.

Police investigating the disappearance said one man is a Malaysian national and the other is Taiwanese.

They were both on a working holiday to Queensland, living in Gatton, though it is not clear if they knew each other.

It is understood the men had been contracted to work at Mulgowie through a labour hire company at least two months ago.

Police said the men had left Gatton for work at Mulgowie Farming about 5am on Sunday but failed to arrive.

They were travelling in separate cars and it is not known if they were travelling in convoy.

A Mitsubishi Magna, which the 34 year-old man was driving, was retrieved from flooded Sandy Creek, near Glen Cairn, on Tuesday.

Police are still searching for the 25-year-old man's Toyota Camry, which has a registration number of 425RWU.

The area being scoured is north of Glen Cairn, and through the Lockyer Valley, though exact perimeters are unclear.

Crews will concentrate on the creek bank surrounds where the vehicle was found and three possible routes the missing car could have travelled between Gatton and Mulgowie.

Police could not estimate the height of the water level at 5am Sunday, only saying the causeway was likely among the first areas to flood.

Anyone with information should contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 00.

7.46am: SUBURBS on Brisbane's southside could run out of water by 9am (AEST) on Wednesday, authorities are warning.

Flooding in the Brisbane River catchment has caused major problems at a water treatment plant at Mt Crosby.

It's partially back on line, but full restoration won't happen for another day and a half and reservoirs that service some southside suburbs are running very low, Premier Campbell Newman said on Wednesday.

Supplies of bottled water had been positioned on the southside in case supplies ran out on Wednesday morning, Mr Newman said.

"If any reservoir runs dry, we'll be immediately providing that for distribution to local areas," he told ABC television.

"This is very serious."

He said residents across Brisbane and Ipswich must limit water use to the necessities of drinking, bathing and cleaning until the treatment plant was back on line.

7.45am: SUPPLY of drinking water to Brisbane remains tight, but SEQwater expects the situation to improve throughout the morning.

Mike Foster from SEQwater said supplies were unlikely to run out as long as consumption does not increase.

"People should only use water for essential purposes only, if they stick to this message we should not run into any issues", he said.

Mr Foster said increased water production was looking better this morning as the first of the scheduled water flushes from Wivenhoe Dam reduced turbidity levels at the Mt Crosby treatment plant overnight.

SEQwater have confirmed residents do not need to boil water before drinking as it still meeting Australian drinking water guidelines.

"We have no issue with water quality; it's quantity that's the issue. People can be very confident about the quality of the water being produced", he said.

SEQwater aims to increase production from 100 megalitres/day to 200 megalitres/day by 9am this morning but said there is no guarantee they will meet the target.

7.10am: ENERGEX says more than 70,000 homes and businesses in the southeast are still without power.

Of that, power has been lost to more than 18,200 properties in Brisbane and 12,600 on the Gold Coast.

An Energex spokeswoman said the goal was to reconnect the majority by 6pm today, though this was subject to access and whether there would be any significant rebuilds in the power network.

7.05am: BRISBANE households will have access to free green waste kerbside pickup from Monday, February 4, as the flood clean-up gets underway.

Residents will also be able to dispose of any spoiled food at one of 50 skip bins that are set to be placed around Brisbane.

Transfer stations will also be free for both green and general waste dumping, with hours extended until 9pm.

"While council crews have been urgently attending to hundred of cases of large trees down that are safety risks, we also understand that residents will be keen to start cleaning up the smaller leaf litter and branches strewn across their backyards and footpaths," Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said.

"Given the amount of damage I've given clear direction that council will undertake a free, one-off green waste pick up from Monday to lend residents a hand with their recovery.

"There's plenty of time to prepare for the clean-up, you just need to gather up any green waste, put it on the kerb outside your house and make sure you've got it out by Sunday night, it's that simple."

Cr Quirk is urging residents to be careful of "hidden dangers", including fallen powerlines and sharp objects, during the clean up.

He is also asking people to wait until the river "fully subsides" before trying to dismantle sandbags.

6.58am: TRAIN stations in Brisbane's inner-city that were previously closed have re-opened but commuters should expect delays.

At 6.55am, Translink said Central, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills stations are open, though not all platforms will operational.

They said services are running on all lines "at reduced frequency" and commuters could face delays.

Meanwhile, fares will be automatically adjusted on go cards over the coming days after ticketing issues from flooding and power loss.

Overnight, it was reported that Queensland's flood emergency was not over yet, with entire suburbs in Bundaberg to remain submerged until the weekend.

And, in Brisbane, about 60,000 people in seven Brisbane suburbs faced the grim prospect of having no water last night as engineers desperately tried to keep the city's main water treatment plant running.

Brisbane City Council has stockpiled 40,000 1-litre bottles of water as an emergency measure.

The Mt Crosby water treatment facility was shut down when ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald's downpours choked it with muddy water from the Bremer and Brisbane rivers.

Sediment from a flooded Brisbane River overwhelmed the plant, causing water levels to plunge in hilltop reservoirs serving hundreds of thousands of people.

Supplier Queensland Urban Utilities last night warned that Tarragindi, Camp Hill, Carina North, Mount Gravatt, Tingalpa, Rocklea and Oxley were most at risk of running dry, but a spokesman said that it was "very unlikely".

Brisbane City Council was taking no chances, organising bottle drops to suburbs while water trucks were on standby in case taps ran dry.

Elective surgery and specialist outpatient appointments at three major southeast Queensland hospitals were suspended after water supply concerns.

Metro South Health CEO Richard Ashby said he was advised at 4pm yesterday of potential water supply problems because of the floods and had cancelled elective surgery and thousands of specialist outpatient appointments today at the Princess Alexandra, QEII and Logan hospitals.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk last night described the water situation facing Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, the Lockyer Valley, Redlands and the Scenic Rim as "critical".

He said there was a very real chance the taps could run dry by this morning if people did not urgently cut their usage to the essentials of drinking, cooking and washing themselves.

The crisis was sparked when the city's two main water treatment plants - at Mt Crosby in the upper reaches of the Brisbane River - had to be shut down yesterday due to silt levels in the water there being four times as thick as during the 2011 floods.

The Mt Crosby facility was at least partially back online last night, but water bottle drops and water trucks were being sent into southern suburbs as a precaution.

Until cleaner water being released from Wivenhoe Dam reaches the processing plants some time later in the week, water will have to be pumped into Brisbane from the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast and a treatment plant at the North Pine Dam.

But that will only supply half the city's normal needs.

"I don't want panic, but I want a lot of common sense to apply over the next 48 hours," Cr Quirk said.

"We're through the flood but we're not out of this event at this stage."

Cr Quirk assured people that the water coming through the taps would remain safe to drink.

The water crisis was just one of many still facing a state last night reeling from its second flood disaster in two years.

While floodwaters began to recede across most of the state's south:

* Rockhampton residents were preparing for a flood roaring down the Fitzroy River, which is expected to hit at the weekend;

* Several communities remained cut off last night, including Mt Tamborine near the Gold Coast and a string of towns inland of Maryborough;

* Flood peaks in the Brisbane River were lower than expected, sparing most properties in Brisbane and Ipswich;

* In northern NSW, the town of Grafton came perilously close to being inundated by the surging Clarence River which peaked at a record level just 2cm below the town's levee;

* About 50,000 properties remain without power across the southeast, with 400 Energex crews repairing what has been the region's widest-ever blackout;

* Rail commuters were warned about the potential for further delays and cancellations today despite the majority of services expected to be up and running by this morning;

* Producer groups warned that food prices would rise as early estimates put the total damage bill in excess of $1 billion.

But Premier Campbell Newman said the major concern was still Bundaberg, where the situation remained serious and the Government was working with local authorities to ensure the thousands of evacuees had access to food, water and bedding.

Just over 10 per cent of the city's population has been flood-affected, with more than 2000 properties inundated and 7500 people forced out of their homes - 1500 of whom were sheltering in evacuation centres last night.

The Burnett River peaked yesterday afternoon at 9.5m, and is expected to remain high for up to four days.

Flying into the "rum city" yesterday, Mr Newman compared the sight of the bloated Burnett River with the Brisbane River in 2011.

"I've seen the city from the air," Mr Newman said.

"I've seen perhaps even more extraordinary sights than we saw two years ago in southeast Queensland, given the relative impact on Bundaberg.

"I've spoken to a number of people who've lost an awful lot, but they're not going to give up on this.

"They're not going to be crushed by this."

Holed up at the Bundaberg Civic Centre for the third day, mother-of-six Samantha Rechenberg was matter-of-fact about the situation.

"Our place is definitely flooded, but I didn't wait to see how badly. I didn't want to get evacuated off the roof," Ms Rechenberg said.

"We don't know what we'll find when we go back. Not much, I'm thinking."

Jolie Howard and partner Anthony Tynen were just as resigned to losing everything at their East Bundaberg house.

"Within half an hour of us being evacuated, the water was half way through the house," Mr Tynen said.

"My father's the one who owns the house, and it's all gone. The house is completely destroyed."

East Bundaberg Rotary Club member Marilyn Batty said volunteers were coming into the evacuation centre "all the time".

"Anybody who's dry is coming to help. We had 500 for breakfast this morning, and we're just going through clothes making sure everybody has clothes and toiletries," Ms Batty said. "People are rallying together; it's very good."

In flooded Water Street, Harvey Knapp was not about to let muddy ankle deep water force him out of his house.

"I slept there last night. It was alright. Think it's going to get smelly though," he said.

Local MP and Police and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey, said the floodwater would take a while to recede which would reveal the extent of the damage, but

thanked emergency workers for their efforts and the Australian Defence Force which had helped rescue 94 people isolated at North Bundaberg on Monday night.

Mr Dempsey said the group had avoided evacuation to remain with their pets until they realised their own lives were in danger, and attracted the attention of rescue helicopters with torches.

Mr Newman said the ADF "saved the day" preventing the record flood turning into an even greater disaster.

"We did have a situation with fast rising floodwaters and people becoming very rapidly isolated on ever diminishing islands of ground," the Premier said.

Bundaberg Regional Mayor Mal Forman said he was encouraged by Mr Newman's offer of assistance, and buoyed by his visit.

The Premier requested all local governments to let the State Government know what help they needed to clean up and recover from the crisis.

"We'll be asking them to pull together the estimates of their damage," he said. '

"Often in these events people put out a figure far too early. I think we've got to get it right before we start talking about the numbers."

 -- reporting by Robyn Ironside, Kathleen Donaghey, Kate McKenna, Kris Crane, Jacinda Tutty


20.01 | 0 komentar | Read More

250,000 face night without water access

Written By komlim puldel on Selasa, 29 Januari 2013 | 20.01

Torwood Street in inner-city Auchenflower was one of the few Brisbane suburbs to suffer notable flooding on Tuesday. Picture: Thomas Chamberlin Source: The Courier-Mail

BRISBANE residents can stop holding their breath - floodwaters have peaked and fallen short of causing serious damage in the River City. However, 250,000 people in Brisbane face the threat of no water overnight because of the earlier shutdown of the Mt Crosby Water treatment plant.

10.08pm: Brisbane City Council has stockpiled 40,000 one-litre bottles of water in case the taps run dry in seven suburbs.

9.45pm: GRAVE concerns are held for two workmates who are missing after their cars were found fully submerged in flood waters near Gatton.

A 25-year-old man and a 34-year-old man failed to reach their destinations when travelling from Gatton to Mulgowie on Tuesday.

Crowds turned out to see the expected flood peak in the CBD at noon on Tuesday, but the river behaved itself.

It is not known if the men were travelling in convoy.

Their cars were both pulled from Sandy Creek near Glen Cairn this afternoon.

Police and SES have stop searching for tonight and will be back out tomorrow morning.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of either of the men should contact police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 00.

8.45pm: About 250,000 people in seven Brisbane suburbs face the threat of no water overnight because of the earlier shutdown of the Mt Crosby Water treatment plant.

A view of the Eagle Street Pier area at about noon on Tuesday.

Queensland Urban Utilities have named Tarragindi, Camp Hill, Carina North, Mount Gravatt, Tingalpa, Rocklea and Oxley as most at risk of losing supply however a spokesman said that was "very unlikely".

Brisbane City Council is organising stations in those suburbs to provide residents with bottled water. Water trucks will also be made available in those areas, in the event of a loss of supply.

A QUU spokesman said those suburbs would "be the ones to go in the unlikely event that we do lose supply".

"If that was the case we would be distributing bottled water and advising where those locations are," he said.

"However Mt Crosby has been partially recommissioned. While that's still running the position gets stronger and more secure.

"It's still running at reasonable capacity. If we can bring more of the plant online, the issues go away."

Torwood St in Auchenflower at 10.30am on Tuesday. Picture: Thomas Chamberlin

The Mt Crosby treatment plant predominantly supplies Brisbane's south side, but it is not clear why those suburbs are most at risk.

All Brisbane residents, as well as those in Logan, Ipswich, Redlands, Lockyer Valley and the Scenic Rim are urged to conserve water to minimise the supply issue over the next 24 to 48 hours.
 

7.00pm: ELECTIVE surgery and specialist outpatient appointments at one of Brisbane's biggest hospitals have been suspended until water supplies return to normal.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital was preparing to divert major trauma cases to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital tonight after the Mt Crosby Water Treatment Plant was shutdown because of turbidity caused by the flood.

Metro South Hospital and Health Service CEO Richard Ashby said about 30 elective surgeries and 2000 outpatient appointments, scheduled for tomorrow morning, had been cancelled.

The Brisbane River in the CBD on Tuesday.

He said he hoped hospital services would return to normal by lunchtime but this would be dictated by when ``the water situation returns to normal''.

"We're looking at a 16-hour potential interruption to our water utility,'' Dr Ashby said.

He said the hospital had "palette loads of drinking water'' for patients and staff and disposable bed pans to use until normal water supplies were restored.

"We have literally thousands and thousands of litres of bottled water here which will be more than enough,'' he said.

An RBWH spokeswoman said a decision would be made tomorrow morning about whether to cancel elective surgery at that hospital.

She said specialist outpatient appointments at the RBWH would go ahead as planned.
 

A view of the flooded Brisbane River from Toowong on Tuesday.

6.50pm: An updated list of school closures for Wednesday has been released tonight.

4.45pm: The majority of train services are expected to be back up and running by peak hour tomorrow, but commuters have been warned there could be delays and cancellations.

Some inner-city train services will resume this afternoon after the removal of scaffolding that fell on tracks at Fortitude Valley during high winds.

Two tracks have so far been cleared of debris, with the remaining two tracks expected to be back online for tomorrow morning's peak hour.

It will allow a reduced number of services on the Gold Coast, Caboolture, Ferny Grove and Shorncliffe line to resume this afternoon.

Sandbags are in place at Eagle Street Pier on Tuesday morning. Picture: Wallis Peter

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said it was expected 90 per cent of services would be back up and running by tomorrow morning.

Adjustments had also been made to clear fixed charges applied to Go Cards in cases where commuters could not touch off due to power failures.

4.05pm: THE Moreton Bay Regional Council's waste facilities will waive dumping fees until Monday, February 11, for disposal of tree and vegetation debris caused by the weekend's severe weather.

All council waste facilities will be open every day until the close of business on that day to provide greater access to residents and contractors.

Residents who engage a contractor to dispose of debris should ensure they are not charged fees while the council waiver is in effect.

A picture snapped in Bundaberg on Monday shows a group of school-aged children hastily being transported away from flood threatened areas. Schools were due to return across the state today, but there are widespread closures in the Bundaberg region. Picture: Facebook

3.18pm: HOMES have been flooded in Logan and residents are stranded - and the river continues to rise.

Long-term residents say it is the worst flood they have seen.

Around eight homes in Bayes Rd at Chambers Flat have up to 2m of water through them.

A dog breeder and her animals were marooned on the top floor of her high-set home, while neighbours evacuated.

They included Vaughn Catsicas, who fled in the darkness early on Tuesday morning as water engulfed his low-set home.

A reader snaps a pic of the Brisbane River early on Tuesday morning, looking from Tennyson back toward the city in the distance. Picture: Simon Kern

"There was no warning from the SES or anyone that the house was going to flood," he said.

"I managed to get my motorbike and a few other things out and now the place is underwater. And the water's still rising - it's come up about 10m since I got out."

The SES used a boat to evacuate other residents from nearby Wendt Rd at Logan Village.

The Logan City Council could not say how many homes had been flooded.

2.35pm: SOUTHEAST Queensland residents have been urged to restrict water use to "drinking, cooking and washing" or face the prospect of running out over the next couple of days.

Morgan Ruig (front) helps other volunteers and friends and family help strip and empty houses in Milton, as people prepare their homes for the expected flooding tomorrow. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen

In an unexpected consequence of the heavy rainfall, the turbidity of the water is at such a level, the Mt Crosby water treatment plant has shut down.

It means about 225 megalitres of water will be available to the region, about half of what is normally consumed.

"I do stress that if people just keep using the water at the normal level of 450 megalitres a day there is a problem in some parts of the city, that the reservoirs on the hilltops could run dry and that locally people won't have water," said Premier Campbell Newman.

"So I appeal to the community to actually do everything they can to heed this message."

He said it was vital people did not use water for activities such as topping up pools, washing cars and cleaning paths.

High levels of soil from the Lockyer Valley have been washed into the water supply as a result of the heavy rain, leaving the Mt Crosby water treatment is unable to cope.

A helicopter rescues a family at Fairmead on the Burnett River downstream of Bundaberg. Pic: Paul Beutel

Mr Newman said it would be 24 to 48 hours before the water ran clean.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk reiterated the water conservation appeal, and also invited Brisbane residents to put out green waste on footpaths by Sunday night, for collection Monday.

"We've also put in place provisions around food waste. There was of course power outages for a significant period of time," Cr Quirk said.

"There'll be about 50 food waste bins in 36 suburbs."

 2.30pm: The only sign of deep water at South Bank were those very words on a banner next to the lifeguard's chair, pointing to the pool of the man-made beach where tourists and families made the most of the sunny weather.

From about 10.30am, curious flood spotters gathered, wondering whether they would see history repeat itself.

For those who were there in 2011, watching the Brisbane River spread into the South Bank pools was something to remember. Fortunately, those memories were not refreshed yesterday.

Some people brought their lunch and made a picnic out of it. Others just kept an eye on the water level from the comfort of the pools.

At the river's peak, water lapped onto the grass near the low-lying footpath in front of the Brisbane Wheel but the rest of the walkway along South Bank remained high and dry.

2.05pm: THE waters have only just receded, but planning for the huge task of cleaning-up after the flood has begun.

Brisbane City Council has organised for special collections of green waste and food waste across flood-struck suburbs and will release details of collection times this afternoon.

Flood and damage in the town of Laidley. Pic Peter Wallis

Up to 100,000 homes across the city lost power during the storms, creating the problem of how to dispose of huge amounts of rotten food.

Ordinary garbage collection services will go ahead as normal, with only a few Brisbane roads still cut by water.

Brisbane City Council staff are working to clear 600 reports of fallen trees and debris in need of removal, which will take until at least Wednesday.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said while the city had seen the worst of the flood damage, residents should remain alert for the possibility of trees falling as a result of saturated grounds and the possibility for more high winds.

He said it was unlikely the clean-up would require the thousands of mud army volunteers as in 2011, but volunteers with specialist skills would still be needed. It will release more details about volunteer arrangements in the near future.

Council has asked for those wanting to make donations to help flood-affected residents to directly contact charity organisations.

Moreton Bay Regional Council will waive its dumping fees until February 11 for the disposal of tree and vegetation debris.

Residents who engage a contractor to help clear vegetation debris should ensure they are not charged dumping fees during that time.

Ipswich residents also will be able to dump green waste free of charge, while those with proof-of-address for a flood affected property will be able to dump all goods free of charge.

Meanwhile, Origin Energy has frozen the issuing of disconnection, overdue and late notices until it can assess the flooding situation and how it has affected billing.

1.50pm: There are currently 133,812 homes and businesses still without power in the southeast.

Energex is hoping to reduce that figure to 70,000 by 6pm tonight and 50,000 by 6am Wednesday.

More details can be found on their site here.

1.22pm: GOOD news for Keith Urban fans, with a new show scheduled for the Brisbane Entertainment Centre next Tuesday.

The Aussie entertainer cancelled shows on Sunday and Monday nights because of the severe weather.

1.10pm: THE Brisbane Markets at Rocklea have escaped significant damage after the Brisbane River peaked earlier today.

The markets, which were completely submerged in the 2011 floods, activated contingency plans after they were warned overnight of possible inundation.

George Lathouras, sales manager at produce vendor Murray Bros, said while they were prepared the impact will be minimal.

"We moved all produce into higher areas and evacuated some stock, but overall we've probably missed about 20 per cent of trading," he said.

The markets lost power from about 8pm Saturday night until 4am Sunday morning, however there was little damage to stock.

"We were pretty prepared after last time," Mr Lathouras said.

"But I still wasn't sure if I'd be selling apples or shovelling mud come this morning."

The markets will be fully operational again from Wednesday morning.

1.01pm: PRELIMINARY damage assessment for the Brisbane River flood peak is "looking very positive", according to authorities.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Acting Chief Superintendent for the Brisbane region Kevin Walsh said swift water rescue crews were in the process of collecting data.

"It's preliminary but all signs indicate there are no great areas of concern," he said.

"The flood levels are no greater than yesterday's levels.

"It's all looking very positive at the moment."

12.45am: AFTER days of rain and with dams in excess of 100 per cent capacity, Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich residents are in danger of running out of drinking water.

The region's main water treatment plant at Mt Crosby is currently offline because of record turbidity levels in the Brisbane River.

The high level of soil is the result of run-off from farmland in the Lockyer Valley into Lockyer Creek, which feeds into Wivenhoe Dam.

Premier Campbell Newman urged residents to heed the message to conserve water, with the problem not expected to be resolved for about 48-hours.

SEQWater CEO Terri Benson said the turbidity levels in the Brisbane River were four times the level experienced during the January 2011 flood event.

"While the Mt Crosby Water Treatment Plant is offline, Seqwater is using the Water Grid to move water from a number of different bulk water sources across the region, including the Gold Coast Desalination Plant," Ms Benson said.

"Seqwater is also managing the power, communication technology and site access issues at a number of sites across the region."

She said SEQWater was working closely with local councils and distribution retailer authorities to ensure "a balance was achieved between bulk water supply and demand".

"As a result of the large flows entering the region's water sources, a number of those sources are currently experiencing high levels of manganese," Ms Benson said.

"Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral and customers may notice discolouration and odour. It can also stain plumbing fixtures and laundry."

Residents in Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich, Redlands, Moreton Bay, Lockyer, Somerset and Scenic Rim were urged to conserve water for the next 24-48 hours.

12.25pm: RESIDENTS in Brisbane's western suburbs have been spared any flooding with high tides peaking lower than expected.

In Moggill this morning many people were watching the brown raging waters flow past the ferry terminal, which has been cut off by the flood.

In the Brisbane river at Bellbowrie three pontoons are floating free after breaking their moorings.

Fire fighters and SES crews are out surveying areas that had been predicted to be inundated by Brisbane City Council but their services have yet to be required.

College's Crossing is cut off by flood waters as is an area of Allard Close but no homes have been affected there.

12.22pm: PREMIER Campbell Newman is urging Brisbane residents to conserve water as a result of problems with the treatment plant.

A high level of soil in the Lockyer Creek, which flows into the Wivenhoe catchment, has caused the treatment plant to operate more slowly. More to come soon.

12.15pm: VODAFONE crews are working to restore mobile services across the state, with services now restored in Surfers Paradise and Currumbin.

Vodafone crews are onsite to repair the remaining outages at five sites on the Gold Coast.

Residents in Airlie Beach, Mackay, Deception Bay, Kingston and Mt Gravatt will need to wait another 24 hours for mobile services to be restored, as Vodafone crews wait on advice from emergency services as to when they will be able to gain access to flood affected sites.

Alexandra Hills and surrounds should expect to have services restored by 3pm this afternoon.

Vodafone has reported 40 single site outages across the state as a result of storm and flood damage.

Crews are working in impacted regions to restore services as soon as possible.

11.55am: FLOOD waters have caused some localised flooding near Brisbane's Breakfast Creek Hotel, with the swollen river spilling onto several streets in the area.

A taxi rank in the area has been affected, but the flood caused more issues yesterday by comparison.

11.50am: Firefighters are travelling between homes in flooded Torwood St in Auchenflower, checking on residents.

Anne Bolland, 43, said she was prepared for the rising waters today and had moved "everything" upstairs.

"This is the third time we have been flooded," she said.

Ms Bolland said water levels in the street were higher yesterday and didn't believe her home was damaged at this stage.

She said her husband was staying in their home keeping an eye on the rising waters.

"We still have power," she said.

Ivan Gaiko, of Vincent St, which runs into Torwood St, said the water levels today were about 6 inches lower than yesterday.

The 68-year-old said people from Nundah helped him move items above ground yesterday.

"The top of the windows were covered in 2011," he said.

He said most people kept items about 1m above the ground after the 2011 flood.

11.45am: WATER that lapped the city's river boardwalk has almost dried away in Tuesday's bright sunshine.

It was just after 11am that a small amount of water spilled onto the boardwalk in an isolated section.

Restaurants, including Groove train owner Julian Mero, are now looking forward to afternoon trading.

"We were ready for the worst but we're hoping to open this afternoon," he said.

11.28am: Brisbane City Council has advised residents of changes to public transport services due to severe weather across the city.

Most bus services are running as per normal, however 10 out of 260 routes have been affected by road closures.

Residents wishing to travel via bus are advised to log onto www.translink.com.au and plan their trip.

All CityFerry, CityCat and CityHopper services have been suspended until further notice.

11.27am: Wynnum residents look likely to be spared from further flooding today after Moreton Bay waters failed to reach Bayside homes.

Far calmer than yesterday, when it was spurred on by a driving wind, the waves lapped against rocks about half a metre below the Esplanade around midday.

An SES worker on scene said the water had likely reached it's highest point at 11am.

There are piles of seaweed and other debris to clean from surrounding streets but it was almost business as usual this morning.

11.23am: ENERGEX has warned residents of the Sunshine Coast's Glasshouse Mountains to be wary of scammers posing as employees and offering to lop trees for a fee.

ENERGEX reminds customers that employees wear an official uniform, carry photo identification and do not charge upfront for tree lopping services.

11.10am: TEARS ran down Jellyfish owner John Kilroy's cheeks as realised that his CBD riverside restaurant would be spared from a second flooding today.

"It's tears of joy - and sweat," he joked. "I was here until 2am last night and to wake up this morning and hear that it wouldn't be as bad today was a big relief.

"I think it's all over now."

Visibly exhausted, Mr Kilroy said the past 24 hours had been incredibly stressful.

"Now we just have drag all of the sandbags out and clean up. I don't think we'll be rushing though."

11.06am: Suncorp Insurance has received more than 4500 claims for compensation linked to the ex-tropical cyclone Oswald floods.

Numbers are expected to rise with flood levels across parts of Queensland still yet to peak.

Spokeswoman Michelle Barry said Suncorp would ensure all flood claims were speedily processed.

Suncorp has begun to send assessment crews to those regions hardest hit, including Bundaberg, to provide emergency start-up funds and claims assistance.

Flood-affected residents are urged to submit their claims as soon possible and provide as many photographs, receipts or ownership documents as possible to speed their claim.

The insurer was unable to provide an estimate of the financial cost of the 2013 floods at this stage.

10.54am: THE only flood hitting the Eagle Street Pier on Tuesday appears to made of people, as crowds of office workers come down to watch the expected peak at midday.

The Brisbane River has not risen enough to spill onto the boardwalk, although it has lifted about 10cm in the past hour.

The river remains swollen and littered with debris, which is proving a popular sight for the growing crowd.

10.50am: Water is rising at Torwood St in Auchenflower as the high tide approaches, however it is expected to be lower than yesterday's peak.

Both ends of the street remain blocked by police.

10.36am: THE mood at Eagle Street Pier in the Brisbane CBD remains markedly more relaxed this morning, as restaurants wait to see how high the river will swell.

Hidden behind a wall of sandbags and tarp, Jellyfish restaurant appears to be sealed tight, while the neighboring Riverbar has been blocked off by caution tape.

Inside, staff are visibly relaxed as they wait for the tide.

A little further down the pier, Groove Train, which was extensively damaged in 2011, also has sandbags in place.

Owner Julian Mero said that his staff worked until 11.30pm last night to secure the venue.

"The mood down here is very calm - I don't know if it's a false sense of security or if people have realised there's not much more we can do," he said.

"Yesterday the water came up higher than we expected, so it was a bit of a wake-up call and made us think that it (the 2011 floods) could happen all over again."

Mr Mero said that the river was predicted to reach 2.4m high.

"Our floors are 2.5m, so as long as the damage isn't too bad, we'll be open this afternoon."

It's been back to work for most of the city, with the occasional group of curious office workers popping down to look at the river.

10.27am: SIX hundred Goodna residents have been given the all clear to return to their homes after the Brisbane River peaked lower than expected.

The river peaked at 7.97 metres at 7.21am - a metre below the predicted level.

No homes were flooded despite earlier fears several hundred properties could be affected.

Local councillor Paul Tully said Goodna was the luckiest town in Australia.

"Now the task begins for everyone to start bringing all their gear back into their homes.

"Goodna residents are so grateful they were spared from another disaster."

10.15am: WITH 48,877 Brisbane homes still without power, New Farm's Gertie's Bar and Lounge is doing their bit to help their neighbours.

The Brunswick Street business posted a message on Facebook about 9.30am today, inviting people to charge their electronics this afternoon.

"Good Morning New Farm! Energex says there's a few of you without power. If any of you need to charge phones and laptops, even electric toothbrushes, Gertie will have extra power boards this afternoon for you to plug your bits in to," the message read.

There are currently 158,606 homes and businesses across the southeast without power.

9.56am: SOME Logan residents have evacuated as the Albert and Logan rivers flood, south of Brisbane.

And several have slammed what they say is a lack of communication from Logan Shire Council about the flooding.

Logan Village resident Tracy Newton said she and her family had left their Pioneer Drive home as floodwaters rose.

"Many Logan Village residents, like me, have been unable to tell what's going on with their home as the new flood maps have completely missed their streets," she posted on Facebook.

"We had four properties flooding into ours when we left yesterday and it was still rising - absolutely gushing in."

Another resident, Annalese Jack posted: " As usual, the region that was formerly Beaudesert council has been mostly forgotten by Logan (council)."

The Logan River at Maclean Bridge was due to peak at South Maclean at 3am this morning, at Maclean Bridge at 6am and Waterford at 4pm today.

9.54am: Banks have recorded issues affecting the ATM network and local branches around Queensland this morning.

Extreme weather and power outages have shut down more than 60 Westpac ATM's around the state and forced the closure of several local branches.

24 stores have been impacted in areas of Rocklea, Maryborough, Gympie and areas of Northern New South Wales.

A full list of closures is available here.

9.52am: SWIFT water rescue crews will be sent out during the flood peak period today to record the damage inflicted on Brisbane.

QFRS Acting Chief Superintendent for the Brisbane region Kevin Walsh said 18 personnel will document the flooding and pass it on to Brisbane City council.

"In the peak of the river levels (between 11am-12pm), crews will be sent out to take pictures of the areas of flooding to give to council," he said.

"This rapid damage assessment is the major activity at the moment."

He said there were no rescues in Brisbane overnight, though there were 28 calls for assistance because of the weather.

9.50am: THE Brisbane river is rising closer to the boardwalk in the CBD, with businesses and locals anxiously watching its progress.

While joggers and cyclists are treating the boardwalk as normal, the increasing tide is a reminder of what has been predicted to come.

The river is about 30cm from spilling onto the boardwalk.

Restaurants, including Jellyfish and Riverbar and Kitchen, have sandbagged in preparation, with workers standing by to reinforce these measures.

Amateur photographers have also travelled down to capture the high tide.

"We just came to see what had happened in our lunch break," one worker said.

"It doesn't look too bad now but we'll see at 11, I guess."

9.26am: Brisbane residents have been advised to conserve water usage due to high silt and reduced levels of potable water supplies.

Brisbane City Council said residents were also advised to avoid excess hosing of external areas of their homes to conserve water usage.

9.17am: The concert by Celtic Thunder at Brisbane entertainment Centre tonight (Tuesday) has been cancelled because of the flooding.

Leon Spellson from Nine Live, promoter of the tour, said: "We are extremely disappointed that Celtic Thunder cannot perform for their Brisbane fans, but these circumstances are unfortunately beyond our control."

Ticket funds are through Ticketek. If tickets were purchased by Visa or Mastercard credit card, a refund will be automatically processed to the card.

8.40am: A DEFENCE Force C130 airfcraft has landed at Bundaberg to begin evacuating patients from the Bundaberg Base Hospital as the city braces for a peak flood in the Burnett River this afternoon.

8.35am: The department of Education, Training and Employment has released an updated list of schools closed today due to flooding. Find the complete list here.

8.30am: MARYBOROUGH police are looking for a mystery man last seen clinging to a tree in flood water in Queen's Park.

The man was spotted by members of the public swimming in flood water at 7.37pm Monday between the Maryborough Court house and Lennox St.

Police confirmed swift water rescue were called to the scene but were unable to locate the man in the darkness.

Emergency services, including QFRS crews, were notified this morning and have joined the search in an effort to locate the now missing man.

8.02am: EMERGENCY services are rushing to Queens Park in Maryborough where a person is reportedly stuck in a tree.

A Queensland Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said they were awaiting information but swift water rescue crews and police had been deployed.

7.21am: The SES received around 3,400 calls for help during the past 24 hours with the majority of callers in the state's central, north coast and southeast.

Volunteers have been kept busy with jobs relating to evacuations, flood assistance, sandbagging, leaking roofs, roof damage and fallen trees.

Meanwhile, swift water rescue crews were called to seven incidents overnight and are reminding people, "if it's flooded, forget it".

7.13am: GOLD Coast and Brisbane airports remain open although some disruptions and delays still persist.

Virgin Australia has confirmed many domestic flights within Qld and NSW today have been cancelled. A full list is available on their website.

All effected passengers booked to travel today will receive a text message to contact the airline and re-arrange flight times and routes.

Brisbane airport remains unaffected but is advising passengers to contact their airline for further information about anticipated flight delays or disruptions to services.

The Airport Train service has been suspended. A bus shuttle will operate between the CBD and airport for customers travelling between the airport and Brisbane CBD.

7.07am: Preparations are under way to evacuate patients at Bundaberg Hospital, amid fears the hospital could soon lose power or flood.

The Burnett River continues to rise to an expected record peak of 9.5m this afternoon.

6.55am: THE wild weather may have eased but floodwaters and debris are continuing to cause problems for motorists this morning.

At least 100 roads remain partially blocked or closed because of the fall-out, including one of the entrances to the Airport Link.

At 3.30am Tuesday, the Department of Transport and Main Roads said the Sandgate Rd entrance was closed between Station St and Wood Street.

Debris is blocking the entrance in both directions and motorists have been told to use an alternative route until it is cleared.

Jay Lane from the Australian Traffic Network said traffic flow was generally light across Brisbane but he expected this could change as people gain confidence to venture out.

As well as fallen powerlines and trees, he said there are many traffic lights malfunctioning across the city due to the power outages.

Motorists should be aware of:

* A large gum tree that has pulled down powerlines at Ruthven Street, Corinda.

* Tree and branch debris at Beatty Road, Archerfield (near Boundary Rd).

* Massive trees across the road at Oxley Avenue, Margate.

6.16am: BRISBANE residents woke to fog as they brace for expected flood peaks later this morning.

Flood Hydrologist Jess Carey from the Bureau of Meteorology said the first peak will occur around 11am in Brisbane city, as the high tide brings an expected peak of 2.6m.

Brisbane's Western suburbs are still expecting low level flooding.

Peaks are projected to reach 10m at Moggill and 6m at Jindalee.

But the worst appears passed at Ipswich as waters continue to recede, expected to return to normal by Thursday.

Ipswich's Bremmer River currently sits at 13.25m and is falling.

Goodna, badly flooded in 2011, is breathing a sigh of relief as the region escapes serious flooding with little-to-no effect recorded by Bureau Hydrology.

Bundaberg, Maryborough and the Logan River still remain areas of concern.

6.07am: People across Brisbane returning to work today have been advised to delay travel on public transport during peak hours, with trains functioning on an ad-hoc basis.

All stations on the rail network are open except for Fortitude Valley, where debris has caused disruptions to the power supply.

Trains have been diverted between Roma Street and Bowen Hills via the Exhibition line, but there is a shuttle train service linking Roma Street and Central, a Translink spokesman said.

"This has been in place from this morning as we are trying to make sure people can get to Central and access areas," he said.

"The trains are not running on a particular time table but they leave fairly consistently as demand requires them.

"People should expect delays and travel off-peak if possibly to ease the burden on the rail network."

The spokesman added buses were operating as normal around Brisbane's CBD despite a few minor diversions.

"There is a high frequency of services and buses will run through the major corridors," he said.

5.48am: EVEN as good news begins to trickle in for the southeast, the worst is yet to come in Bundaberg as flood levels continue to rise.

Flood Hydrologist Jess Carey from the Bureau of Meteorology said the Burnett River in Bundaberg is yet to peak as water still moves through the system from upstream.

The Bureau is predicting the river to peak at 9.5m, more than 0.4m higher than initially projected.

Mr Carey said Bundaberg residents are likely to see flood waters remain high for the next couple of days but should see levels drop by the weekend.

He said there is also a major concern as flooding moves through the Logan River, south of Brisbane, later tonight but could not confirm the expected peak for the region at this stage.

5.30am: AROUND 167,000 homes are currently still without power in the southeast after 50,000 properties were reconnected overnight.

Four hundred Energex crews will work through Tuesday to restore more homes and are hopeful improved weather conditions will assist their efforts.

Their focus will be hospitals, sewerage and water treatment, major roadways, schools without power, and then urban and rural customers.

Crews will keep a close watch on the river levels in case the rising floodwaters impact underground power supplies.

Almost one in four homes has had power disrupted since the wild weather first hit the region about midday Saturday.

There are still 56,000 power outages in Brisbane, 22,700 on the Gold Coast and 19,700 in the Logan area.

5.20am: FLOODING in Ipswich peaked much lower than anticipated but police warn the southeast is not out of the woods yet.

Ipswich Police confirmed no houses in the community west of Brisbane have been flooded at this stage but locals should remain on alert.

Flood waters have reportedly begun to subside quite dramatically after the Bremmer River peaked around 9.30pm Monday at 13.9m, much lower than the 15m peak earlier projected.

Police confirmed there are still a number of road closures and traffic lights out in the area.

5am: One of the suburbs worst hit during the 2011 floods, Goodna, east of Ipswich, appears to have avoided any repeat of that devastation during this latest weather event.

Local councillor Paul Tully contacted ABC radio shortly before 5am to report that no houses in the low-lying area had flooded overnight.

He warned residents not to celebrate early or consider returning their belongings to their properties, as it was possible that water levels could again threaten during high tides in the next 24 hours, but he was cautiously optimistic.

The news was being interpreted as a possible indication of what to expect downstream in Brisbane, where parts of the city are bracing for flood waters.

1.37am: There are currently 180,000 homes without power in southeast Queensland, with 50,000 reconnected overnight.

Energex has a target of reconnecting another 100,000 by Tuesday night.

There are still 22,000 homes without power on the Gold Coast.

Some affected suburbs are without any lights at all, including street and traffic lights. Others are partially powered.

Check energex.com.au for more detailed information - including restoration estimates - but there is no guaranteed restoration schedule because of the extent of the repair work.

On ABC Radio, Energex representative Nathan Hatch thanked the company's customers for their patience as repairs continue across the network after significant damage done by the high winds.

Mr Hatch said hinterland and hard-to-access areas would remain the biggest challenge to Energex crews.

1.05am: The Brisbane River at Moggill is experiencing a 9.5m peak, while nearby Jindalee is peaking at 6m, about 7m below the 2011 flood level.

Logan is expected to peak at Waterford Bridge at  8m on Tuesday afternoon.

The Brisbane River is expected to peak at 2.6m about 11am Tuesday. Multiple smaller flood peaks above 2m will coincide with high tides until at least Thursday.

Further north, the Burnett River at Bundaberg is sitting at a record 9.3m. Flows are relatively steady but will increase until levels peak late Tuesday or early Wednesday. The December 2010 flood level at Bundaberg was 7.92m.

12.18am: Floodwaters have receded in many inner-city suburban streets in Brisbane which were flooded Sunday night or Monday morning.

Water in the area around Northey St, Windsor, which last night saw heavy inundation with dozens of homes evacuated, has retreated, with only a few roads left partially closed.

Flooding has also diminished in the western suburb of Rosalie, where evacuations took place earlier today.

12.00am: Ipswich residents looked likely to miss the worst of the flooding as the expected flood peak in the Bremer River was revised down from 15m to 13.8m.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said he was "hoping for 14m, not 15m, which would save hundreds of properties" when the river was expected to peak some time before midnight.

He said it was possible that fewer than 200 properties in the Ipswich area would be affected but that it would nevertheless be a long night

11.30pm: Lord Mayor Graham Quirk warned that 1500 homes, 2100 units and 1250 businesses in Brisbane's river suburbs could be affected by expected flooding.

The Brisbane River is expected to peak at its highest level of 2.6m about 11am Tuesday.

The weather bureau said smaller flood peaks are expected on Wednesday and Thursday.

Meanwhile, residents in other parts of the state are also bracing for the impact of recent downpours.

Residents in Ipswich are watching the Bremer River which is sitting at 13.85m and is expected to peak sometime Monday night.

Bureau of Meteorology Hydrologist Jess Carey said that flows are slowing and they are hopeful that the river will not reach the predicted 15m peak.

In Logan, peaks are expected on Tuesday afternoon.

Further north, the most recent measurements in Bundaberg have the Burnett River at 9.3m.

The water level is expected to build into Tuesday.

Mr Carey said that the expected peak is impossible to predict and even small rises are hurting those in the area.

Earlier: The Brisbane River will seep into the CBD at lunchtime Tuesday while residents and business owners further upstream brace for more water.

In Bundaberg, authorities will keep worried eyes on the rising Burnett River, which yesterday threatened to take lives and wash away homes.

Authorities warned of 40-knot floodwaters set to swamp North Bundaberg, prompting a frantic airlift of residents already cut off.

Last night, authorities were coming to terms with a weather event that had the southeast on its knees. The knock-on effects included:

* Bundaberg hospital evacuated with 60 patients transferred to Brisbane.

* Flooding in Brisbane's CBD and in some suburbs inundated two years ago.

* Flooding in a string of cities and towns including Ipswich, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Gympie, Laidley and Mundubbera.

* A warning that Rockhampton would record a major flood this weekend.

* The state's worst power outages, affecting 283,000 properties.

* A crippling of the passenger train network with cancelled services and the forced closure of Central, Fortitude Valley and Bowen

* Hills stations for at least the next two days.

* The closure of more than 200 schools for today's return of the school year.

* A shutdown of the Telstra network in north Queensland, crashing all Triple-0 calls, which was rectified last night.

* The forming of a Joint Task Force by the Defence Force to respond to flooding problems.

* Confirmation of four deaths after an accident that left a three-year-old boy dead and injured his mother in Gordon Park.

Premier Campbell Newman said: "We are tough, we know what this state can throw up, we choose to live here, and it is a great place, and we will do it, we will get through this."

He said Bundaberg faced a "grave situation" with extra police heading there to help the city of 70,000 people, as well as an Australian Defence Force taskforce.

"These are record floods and we are, as many people have said, in uncharted territories," Mr Newman said.

"I have a heavy heart too but we must stand up and get right into this."

He refused to speculate on the cost of the widespread disaster, or the impact on Queensland's bottom line.

"I know the Federal Government will be giving us financial assistance, as they did last time," the Premier said. "But the first thing is to get through this flood, to make sure people are safe. That's my focus."

Brisbane's biggest test is expected to come today, with an 11am river peak coinciding with the high tide.

An unprecedented shutdown of three of the city's busiest train stations will test workers as they return to work after the long weekend.

Central, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills stations are all out of action, as a result of loose scaffolding slicing through four overhead wires near Brunswick Street.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said there were simply not enough buses to carry train commuters, unless they travelled out of peak times.

Citycat services have also been suspended due to river flooding, leaving buses as the only public transport option for CBD workers.

Almost a quarter of a million homes were still without power last night across the southeast.

Adding to the woes, was a Telstra outage caused by damage to fibre optic cables at Kingaroy and Colosseum that cut phone access in central and north Queensland.

Police confirmed the death of a 60-year-old man at Greenbank, who had ridden into floodwaters on a motorcycle.

A 30-year-old mother suffered a broken leg when she was struck by a falling tree at Gordon Park while looking at swollen Kedron Brook with her toddler son. He was in hospital in a critical condition with severe head injuries.

Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan was reluctant to comment on the prospect of another flood levy to help pay for the damage.

Other towns in strife were Laidley - where more than 100 people spent last night in an evacuation centre - and Rockhampton, which is counting down to a weekend flood of the Fitzroy River.

Mr Newman reminded residents to give "generously" to the Queensland Flood Appeal.


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