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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Premier announces permanent tribute to Brisbane’s mud army

    Premier and Minister for Reconstruction
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Premier announces permanent tribute to Brisbane’s mud army

    Queensland Premier Anna Bligh today announced the State Government will commission a statue of the mud army to commemorate the thousands of volunteers who rose up to help Brisbane residents clean up after January’s devastating floods.

    The Premier said the statue would be located at a suitable site along the banks of the Brisbane River, such as South Bank or Kangaroo Point, where families and visitors will be able to forever remember the mud army that marched out in their thousands to get Brisbane back on its feet again.

    The State Government will allocate up to $150,000 for the statue.

    “Across the world, the images of volunteers in their thousands who turned out across the city to help neighbours and strangers have come to symbolise what it means to be a true Queenslander.

    “That sense of community spirit will forever be remembered across the world, and a statue of the mud army will become a permanent reminder of that great Queensland spirit.”

    Ms Bligh made the announcement during a visit to the Centenary Rowing Club at Riverhills, which was completely destroyed 12 months ago when the Brisbane River inundated the city.

    The Premier said last January’s devastating Brisbane floods roared up to six meters over the clubhouse, causing more than $400,000 in damage.

    “This was an enormous blow to the club which had opened its newly renovated facilities only four months earlier.

    Ms Bligh said the club is a not-for-profit, community volunteer run organisation, which aims to provide secondary school aged students, irrespective of what school they attend or what socio-economic background they hail from, the opportunity to learn how to row.

    “It’s a great community club and, like so many community clubs, the floods really hit it hard.

    “But it’s also a club that embodies that strong community spirit that has become emblematic of what it means to be a Queenslander.

    “Despite the devastation, the club didn’t miss a beat putting the tinnies it used as coaching boats to use evacuating local residents, their prized possessions and pets.

    “And as the waters receded and the extent of the damage was clear, when everyone said walk away, that to rebuild was too big a task, they refused to give up.

    “They immediately picked themselves back up again.

    “And what we see here today is representative of the amazing spirit, tenacity and sense of community we saw replicated right across the city,” Ms Bligh said.

    President of Centenary Rowing, Simon Newcomb said that even though the new club house was buried under three metres of mud, it withstood major damage and was able to be cleaned up and reopened.

    “The grounds, pontoon and boats were almost totally destroyed,” Mr Newcomb said.

    “Even established gum trees were uprooted and washed away.”

    Following the floods, the club received $72,500 towards repairs through the State Government’s Flood Fightback program.

    The club also received $50,000 from Woolworths through the Join Forces program to re-turf the grounds, replace the pontoon, car park, kitchen, bathrooms carry out electrical work.

    The club is operating at full capacity now recently hosted 156 young people at a “come down and try” event. This was the biggest turn out for this type of event in the club’s history.

    Chair of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Major General Richard Wilson said that while floods and cyclones often brought destruction and devastation, this adversity could bring out the best in Queenslanders and all Australians.

    “More than $47 million of corporate and international aid was donated to Queensland through the Reconstruction Authority.”

    “Quite quickly after the floods the Authority, working closely with State and Federal Government Departments, recognised the importance of getting the corporate and international sectors on board.

    “Small not for profit clubs like Centenary Rowing are the heart and soul of a community,” Major General Wilson said.

    “It was important to get them up and on their feet as quickly possible to restore some sense of normality after the disaster events,” he said.

    Join Forces is a unique program established by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority which helped match corporate donors with community organisations.

    In total 586 corporate donors are providing in excess of $11 million to 166 community organisations to help them get back on their feet again.

    Mr Newcomb said the assistance the club received had helped the restore the club from utter devastation to operating stronger than ever.

    “The help has meant that our focus can be getting as many young people as possible active in this noble sport and to strengthen community bonds within our community and region,” Mr Newcomb said.

    “We have come through the disaster of the summer floods stronger than ever and hope to make Centenary Rowing one of the biggest and best community based rowing and recreational facilities in Australia.”

    Centenary Rowing is a not for profit, community run organisation which caters for young people aged 11-18.

    MEDIA CONTACT: Premier’s Office on 07 3224 4500