The recent floods left a large part of the Brisbane Markets underwater, stopping all transport and operations, and causing millions of dollars of damage and loss of produce.
CAPTION: A soldier from 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) removes flood-damaged produce from a cold storage warehouse at the Brisbane Markets in Rocklea. Story by Lieutenant Nic Hawkins. Photo by Corporal Nicole Dorrett.
The Australian Defence Force was asked to assist the markets, home to about 5000 employees and hundreds of family businesses, to help rapidly remove rotting produce, damaged infrastructure, and clear mud and debris.
State Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey thanked Commander of Brigadier Mark Armstrong.
“We are very grateful, Brigadier, for all you and the Army have done to help, and to avoid a dire catastrophe down there,” Mr Bailey said.
“I express my appreciation for a job well done by the Army and yourself. It’s been terrific working with you.”
As an additional benefit to the community, Brisbane Markets supports more than 200,000 of Queensland’s most vulnerable. That includes almost 50,000 children through Foodbank by securing fresh produce for their meals.
Mr Noel Greenhalgh, a director of the markets, explained the significance of the ADF contribution to help get the markets open as quickly as possible.
“With between $1 billion and $2 billion of trade annually, the Brisbane Markets are integral to fresh fruit and vegetables getting to all corners of Queensland and northern New South Wales,” Mr Greenhalgh said.
“The task was enormous. We are very grateful for the help provided by the Australian Defence Force. Their valued expertise cleaning up the markets, opening road corridors and removal of tons and tons of food waste, ensured we were up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
Brigadier Armstrong said his soldiers had worked tirelessly to support the whole-of-government effort to get Brisbane back on its feet as quickly as possible.
“I am humbled by the feedback from residents and business owners over the course of this operation while working alongside our government agency partners, like the state government and Brisbane City Council,” Brigadier Armstrong said.
“I am particularly proud to work with so many like-minded colleagues to help Brisbane get back on its feet. It amazes me how far we have come in such a short space of time, but there is more work to be done and we are keen to finish the job.”