TURNAROUND: The Dowsett family’s emergency payment application has been approved.
TURNAROUND: The Dowsett family’s emergency payment application has been approved. Robyne Cuerel

Hard-hit family thrilled with flood appeal apology

A MUNGAR family who lost everything during January's flood has received an apology after an application for emergency payment from the 2013 Queensland Floods Appeal was rejected.

Matt and Cathy Dowsett and their children have been homeless since a metre and a half of floodwater inundated their home, causing more than $80,000 worth of damage.

To add insult to injury, their property was looted, they had to fight for their flood insurance and, finally, their application for emergency payment was rejected.

But the situation took a turn for the better yesterday when the Chronicle contacted the flood appeal committee.

Sue Orreal, from the Department of Communities, immediately contacted the Dowsett family and approved their payment.

She apologised for what she described as a "communication breakdown" between the flood appeal committee and its people "on the ground".

"We have local committees which include the mayor, a Red Cross representative and a State Government representative," she said.

"What we're asking is that they vouch for people whose house has been inundated so we can approve the payment,"

She said the committee would review the Mungar area in case any other residents had their applications wrongfully rejected.

"We've received over 4000 applications. And unfortunately we've had quite a lot of fraud cases," she said.

"We are really sorry if we get it wrong."

Mr and Mrs Dowsett were thrilled with the turnaround.

They said they hoped if there was another major flooding event in Mungar, the community would receive some help from the council. "It was great for everyone in town but we got absolutely nothing out here," Mrs Dowsett said.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said council resources were stretched during the floods. "However we were able to deliver skip bins and send waste collections trucks to those areas as soon as the water receded and it was safe to do so."

Residents can contact the Queensland Floods Appeal on 1800 901 933 or through the Fraser Coast Regional Council.