SEEN IT ALL: Disaster 'expert' to lead recovery efforts
FROM cyclones, floods to bushfires, Ian Stewart is no stranger to the anguish of devastated communities.
On Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's authority, the former Queensland Police Commissioner has been charged with taking the lead on Queensland's bushfire recovery.
After being handed the role of State Recovery Coordinator on Wednesday, Mr Stewart made the visit out to Stanthorpe this morning to tour the fire affected region.
"I think Stanthorpe has got a culture and history of banding together in hard times. I know it happened way back in 2002 and we see that same character and ethos coming out in this event,” Mr Stewart said.
"I had the opportunity to come out and talk to members of council and other personnel and members of the community that have been affected.
"My job as recovery coordinator is to provide an overview and oversight of the recovery processes, making sure councils, local communities and individuals are getting what they need.
"Can I congratulate all those people who have been doing an outstanding job because they care about the community.
"It's just wonderful to see people helping their neighbours whether voluntary or not.”
Mr Stewart was the state disaster coordinator during Cyclone Yasi and the devastating Toowoomba, Grantham and Brisbane floods.
He also led the efforts in the wake of Cyclones Marcia and Debbie and last year's bushfires.
"I've been involved in disasters for many, many years. There's no sudden line where response finishes and recovery starts. It's a transition.
"The recovery is always much longer. It can be a marathon.”
Mr Stewart said more than $150,000 in individual payments to approximately 900 people in the Granite Belt area had already been made.
"I'm more than happy to keep giving back to our community... it's one of the things Queenslander's do best. When times are tough we band together.”
Premier Palaszczuk thanked Mr Stewart for stepping up to the plate.
"I can think of no-one better to get us back on our feet after these fires,” she said.