Calls to build back better after flooding in the Fitzroy Valley

Fri, 10 Feb 2023

Featured image taken from the Marninwarntikura Women’s Resources Centre‘s website with thanks.

As devastating floods swept across Australia this summer, communities around the country felt the impact. Neither city nor regional and remote residents were spared from the damage.
In areas like the Fitzroy Valley, some of our most remote communities went from being merely isolated to being completely cut-off. Even now, as the road opens between Broome and Derby, access to Fitzroy Crossing remains incredibly restricted.

At the Marninwarntikura Women’s Resources Centre, the home of the 1,000 dresses campaign, staff are working at reduced capacity to meet an increased demand.
Sue Thomas, MWRC Strategic Priority Lead that the isolation makes securing food and supplies for the town and its surrounding communities extremely difficult.
She says that supplies were being brought in by barge from Broome via Derby, which is over 200km away. The army has also been helicoptering in supplies.
“The logistics are just incredible” she says.
Many homes were destroyed in the floods and hundreds damaged. Sue says that whole community has been affected in one way or another.
“There’s different levels of impact,” she says, speaking of community members trying to live in flood-damaged homes and those who have lost their homes completely.
With work still underway to repair the bridges and roads connecting Fitzroy Crossing to the rest of Western Australia, Sue says that rebuilding housing and infrastructure in the area is a chance to improve on the standards that existed prior to the flooding.
“We can collectively come together and advocate for improved conditions in the Fitzroy Valley,” she says.
Mitty Williams from the Kimberley Foundation supports the call to use the rebuild as a chance to improve housing and facilities in the region.
“A lot of people didn’t have much to start with,” she says. “It’s the perfect opportunity to build back better.”
Mitty says she was surprised by the positive attitude she heard from the Kimberly Foundation’s partners in the Fitzroy Valley when she spoke to them from Melbourne. ‘
“They’re just taking it in their stride,” she says. “I couldn’t believe how upbeat everybody is, the resilience and the outlook is just amazing.”
While the scope of the damage is huge, Sue says that people should not underestimate the impact of even a small donation.
She recalls a phone call from a pensioner who called to donate a$100 and apologised for not being able to donate more. “That’s not a small donation,” she says.
“Those smaller donations all add up, the average person chipping in $50 really makes a difference.”

The Kimberly Foundation is asking interested funders to save the date for a Briefing about Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre. THe event will take place in Melbourne at the Koori Heritage Trust on Tuesday 18h April, 2023 10 am till 11.30 am. Further details will be available closer to the event date.