Tom and Jean Kerr at their Berserker home which was previously flood-prone. The water previously reached the eighth step.
Tom and Jean Kerr at their Berserker home which was previously flood-prone. The water previously reached the eighth step. Contributed

Why this couple love the North Rocky flood levee

UNTIL this year, Tom and Jean Kerr have had to pack their possessions up every time the river rises.

Long time Berserker residents, the couple said the first stage of the North Rockhampton Flood Mitigation Project had saved their home from damage after Cyclone Debbie's drenching.

"We were flooded every time up until this year,” Mrs Kerr said.

"We had to take a suitcase full of whatever we thought we needed, our personal papers, and of course we were worried about it getting up into the house.

"It was pretty disruptive and as you get older, it gets much more stressful.

"It disrupted our daughter's life too. She's got her own life and you get settled in your own ways.”

The couple, and their neighbours, have said funding for the next stages of the flood mitigation works is crucial when chosing who to vote for in the state election.

Jean Kerr at their Berserker home which was previously flood-prone. The water previously reached the eight step.
Jean Kerr at their Berserker home which was previously flood-prone. The water previously reached the eight step. Contributed

Since the State Election was announced, Rockhampton Regional Council has been meeting with candidates from all the major parties to make their election priorities clear.

Council is asking candidates to support key projects targeted at driving economic growth, increasing tourism numbers, creating local jobs, and building key infrastructure.

Mr Kerr said it wasn't just the obvious impacts of flooding which made their lives difficult.

"They had to turn off the power, so we lost all of the food we had in the fridge and freezer,” he said.

"Our neighbours have stables with horses, and they had to find somewhere for all the horses and the feed and everything to go to, which was very disruptive.”

The couple's home was one of hundreds of homes protected when the rain came in April.

"I was still thinking it might, it just might,” Mrs Kerr said.

"When it didn't, when there was not one drop of water, we were so happy. It was heaven not to have to go anywhere.

"It was bliss. Even though I was still washing by hand it was good because you're thinking I'm not walking in water up to my knees to get anywhere.

"It's very important the candidates support (stage two).

"It's probably one of the most important things to be done.

"When deciding who we vote for, it will count.

"You just don't know how devastating it is until you've been through it yourself, and we need to protect other people who are still facing this risk.

"People can't get into their houses, it's hard to get to work, it's hard for the kids to get to school - it's not good at all.”

Acting mayor Councillor Tony Williams said support for the project was vital, and said it was time for candidates to make their intentions clear.

"It is only fair that voters know which candidates are willing to publicly support and commit to the projects which can help transform and protect our region, and which candidates are not,” he said.

"That information can then inform their decision come polling day. Candidates must make their views and intentions known, and they must do it now.”