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Federal Ministers Come With ‘Open For Business’ Message

By Paige Miller

3rd Apr 2017

Political point scoring was put to one side as federal government ministers visited Airlie Beach on Monday afternoon.

Federal Defense Minister Marise Payne and Justice Minister Michael Keenan came to the region today to acknowledge the work of Australian Defence Force personnel in the region and to re-assure residents that happier days were ahead.

“The most important thing to say is that Queensland is open for business and that is something I would like to reinforce,” Ms Payne said.

“We have helped in a number of ways with beach areas where there may have been damage and erosion, we moved medical personnel to where they are needed and we made sure water is potable and fit to drink.

“We provided a broad range of support and engagement and I’m sure there will be more requests and we will meet them.”

The ministers were joined by Queensland Senator Ian McDonald, Dawson MP George Christensen and Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan and were able to oversee a bird-eye view of the sheer damage caused by Cyclone Debbie on-board a Black Hawk chopper.

“What it gives me is a very real view, better than what you can read in any report,” Ms Payne said.

“It makes a real difference to see what we are asking of the ADF and what the community is experiencing, that is why we make sure we know what is going on as best as possible.”

Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan and Dawson MP George Christensen took a chance to respond to concerns from local residents in the Cannonvale area who have been told they were not eligible for Disaster Relief Payments administered by the Queensland Government.

Mr Christensen urged those who were struggling to receive help to keep trying.

“There has been a glitch in the system, a bit of a stuff up, but keep on trying to get those payments,” he said.

“If you are in an affected area and you are told you are not in an affected area obviously the person on other end of the phone has it wrong.”

Mr Costigan said he contacted the office of Queensland Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman’s Office and was assured the problem would be resolved.

“I encourage people affected by cyclone Debbie and the flood to make sure you put down the date of March 28 and make sure you leave no stone unturned in getting those details right,” he said.

“We need people to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks, in days weeks and months ahead, there are a lot of elderly people in the community so make sure you check on them.”

Source: Whitsunday Times.

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