Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt today joined the leader of recovery operations in North Queensland Chief Superintendent Mike Keating in Innisfail to meet with local residents and get an update on reconstruction works.

“Less than three months ago, we all watched the largest cyclone to cross the Australian coastline in a hundred years hit the Cassowary Coast,” Mr Pitt said.

“Today I’m here to see first-hand how far we’ve come since February 2, knowing that we still have much more to do,” he said.

Mr Pitt said the Bligh Government is working hard to help the Far North recover.

“We’ve paid out more than 9,000 Round 1 grants to people affected by Cyclone Yasi from the Queensland Government Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal – totalling more than $17.38 million,” he said.

“Operation Clean Up has also commenced, meaning 18 locals who lost their jobs because of Cyclone Yasi are working to help the whole region recover so business can get back to normal.

“More than 260 work placements have been approved and almost 700 properties right across cyclone affected parts of the north have asked for a helping hand.

“Operation Clean-Up teams are already at work on dozens of properties in the Cassowary coast – including three cane farms, eight cattle properties, two orchards, three tourism properties, and a banana farm.

“But there is more to do and I’m here to ensure people are getting the support they need, when they need it.

“I’m here today to play my part and help our community get back on its feet as fast as possible. I want people to know they can come to me for help – my door is always open.

“If you’re after information about the reconstruction efforts on the ground where you are – please let me know.

“People shouldn’t be reluctant to ask for help or to speak out – not only for material things but also for their own emotional wellbeing and that of family and friends.”

Mr Pitt said more than $2 million had been distributed to non-government organisations in communities affected by the disasters.

“With these funds we are able to offer on-the-ground support to around 5,500 people including carers and families of people with a mental illness to help them come to terms with and recover from the impact of the natural disasters,” he said.

Mr Pitt said $1.2 million had also been set aside earlier this year to deliver counselling and support for people with a mental illness affected by the floods and the cyclone.

“We funded two community hubs for carers of people with a mental illness – one in the south west, another in the far north,” he said.

“It was an important step in helping to heal the emotional scars brought on by the recent disasters and part of our overall response to help Queenslanders rebuild their lives.

“As a community we need to look out for each other and stay connected. As a government we want to make sure that anyone who is struggling to cope during the recovery phase knows that help is available.”

For mental health support, phone 13 HEALTH.