Australian Defence Force personnel are hard at work helping schools re-open in time for the start of the school year, which is possibly not the most popular part of the clean-up for local Gold Coast students.
CAPTION: Aussie soldiers plan their cleanup work at the Oxenford State School where large trees fell during Christmas-holiday storms and needed to be removed. Photo by Sergeant Hatcher.
Tree-removal is well under way at Oxenford State School and will soon begin at Helensvale State High School.
The rain has stayed away since the severe weather event that impacted the Gold Coast region on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Second in Command of Charlie Company at 25th/49th Royal Queensland Regiment, Captain Blake Wright, who has been coordinating tasks in the region, said the ADF had supported a number of requests for assistance at schools.
“The school infrastructure on the Gold Coast has been impacted by the storm and we are here today to ensure Oxenford State School can resume safely in a few weeks’ time,” he said.
“We are removing uprooted trees on the ground, and smaller trees and other branches and debris on the ground. We have two sections with chainsaw teams who are working on this task.”
Commander of Joint Task Group 629.3 Brigadier Richard Peace was on the ground observing personnel who were helping.
“Our ADF members have continued to support the access to damaged infrastructure by Queensland essential services,” Brigadier Pearce said.
“We are working with the schools and QBuild to enable access to restore the school grounds. I am not sure we will be as popular with the students, as this ensures school will re-open in a few weeks’ time.”
Since January 5, 50 ADF general duties personnel, equipped with high-clearance vehicles, have been providing support in the region.
Soldiers have worked with locals and service providers in a number of locations across the broader Logan, Gold Coast and Scenic Rim regions as part of recovery efforts, including in the vicinity of Mount Tamborine, Wongawallen, Coomera, Cedar Vale, Cedar Grove and Logan.
They have been assisting in clearing routes to essential infrastructure, as well as felled trees from schools in Oxenford, Helensvale and Cedar Creek.