A news cycle can last 24 hours or it can last 36 hours, but I can tell you that the rebuilding phase of trying to rebuild a community after devastating floods can last many, many, many months and sometimes years. Today I would like to acknowledge the community spirit shown by constituents of mine within the seat of Wright in the tenacity and the dedication they are showing in helping to rebuild their communities.
In starting to rebuild our community, we looked at our farming sector first. The amount of damage that farming land experienced was incomprehensible. As a result, our growers had to work out where to start the rebuilding process and what assistance was available. There was a short amount of time where surrounding shires were being assisted with disaster payments and the Scenic Rim was being left behind, so we applied some political muscle to that situation and were fortunate to get it declared category B, C and D. As a result, there was some ambiguity about what people could claim. I was fearful that growers and so on were going to go out and start rebuilding with the intention that they were going to have financial assistance.
To try and give that situation more clarity, we reached out to the CEO of the Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority and asked them to send down one of their field agents who could work with our people to start giving some parameters about what could be claimed for assistance in the rebuilding phase. We did that, and we had over 100 growers who attended a forum that we held in the Boonah Cultural Centre. It was well received. Now, I am proud to say that our community have some direction in the farming sector with reference to what they can get financial access to. They have some certainty now as they start to rebuild.
In addition to that, over in the Lockyer Valley the Australia Day celebrations on 26 January were washed out, so they had them the month after. Sam Kekovich, the lamb ambassador, was there and had a cook-off with a number of different celebrities. I had the privilege of being the celebrity master chef judge. Unfortunately, Sam did not cook, but there is no questioning his commitment to the product that he endorses. In closing, I would like to announce the federal Members of Parliament National Volunteer Awards, which we have launched. We are looking for people in our electorates who, on a regular or a one-off basis, conduct random acts of kindness to assist in a volunteering capacity, whether they are helping their neighbours or they are helping someone in the community in need.