Fair go for Grantham: Abbott
A VISIT from Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, has allowed Grantham residents to voice their concerns about the town's recovery.
Grantham businessman, Marty Warburton, said the Opposition Leader's visit was welcomed by locals.
“I think in a situation like this one, where so much of Queensland has been involved in a natural disaster, the Federal Government needs to step up,” he said.
“This was the second visit from Mr Abbott to Grantham and I think this time he wants an update on how people are going.
“He asked to speak to me because I have been quite vocal about the issues the community has.”
Mr Warburton said he was surprised how genuine Mr Abbott was.
“It seemed to be more than just a token visit,” he said.
“He was asking questions and following up when he wanted more information on things and it sounded to me like he wanted to hear why things out here have been a little slow and why the community is not together again.”
A number of issues were raised with the Opposition Leader.
“I mentioned that we need to get the community back together,” he said.
“We are still finding it very hard and for the community to heal we need to be back together.
“It's great that all this money is being spent on infrastructure projects because we need that, but some money should go back to the social side as well.
“A lot the great things that have been happening, including the purchase of the Butter Factory for a community centre, haven't been received by the community the way they should because everyone is still displaced all over the countryside.
“Early next week I will hopefully get a response from either Tony himself or his office in relation to what he has been following up.”
Mr Warburton had hopes that his business, Marnell Fuels would be reopening by Easter.
“It would be a good step for Grantham to have one of the businesses running again.
“We can get some fuel into Grantham, but because of the displacement of the community I have my doubts about how long we will be able to continue,
“We only have 14 families back in town and 70 per cent of my business was local people, so it will be interesting to see how that goes.”
Mr Abbott presented a personal cheque for $5500 to the Lockyer Valley Flood Regional Council Flood Appeal during his visit.
“The people here have been through a terrible time and the aim of my visit is just to move from table to table, talk to the residents and discuss their ideas about the practical things that we can do to help,” he said.
“I know a lot of people here have been through hell and I suspect a lot of them still are and we want to ensure we move as quickly as possible and get things back to something like normal.
“We want to ensure that the people in Grantham get a fair go.”