Johnathan Thurston helps South West Queensland students get flood ready

Students from Cunnamulla State School and Sacred Heart Primary School (Cunnamulla) in South West Queensland received a virtual visit from rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston today to talk about disaster preparedness.

Students from Milton State School in Brisbane joined in the video conversation, which included tips and advice about how to look after pets during a flood, what kids can do to prepare for storms and bushfires and how to stay connected if the power goes out.

Get Ready Queensland Ambassador Johnathan Thurston said he was thrilled to talk to both groups of students about the extreme weather Queenslanders face and how it impacts them and their families.

“Out in Cunnamulla it’s a land of extremes with long droughts followed by heavy rainfall and flooding,” Mr Thurston said.

“It was great to chat with the kids today and talk about the different ways they get ready for severe weather as well as the differences between what they need to do and how city kids prepare.

“I’m proud to be the Get Ready Queensland Ambassador and to spend time with young people across the state helping them to prepare for the weather extremes that are a part of life in Queensland.

“The Get Ready Queensland program provides parents and teachers with all the resources they need to teach children about disasters and help them prepare for whatever comes their way, be it a flood, cyclone, severe storm or bushfire.”

Cunnamulla State School Principal Paul Harper-Green said the students were thrilled to meet Johnathan Thurston online as part of the Get Ready Queensland Week activity.

“The kids all look up to JT so that was exciting for them to hear from him but it was also great for them to talk to with kids from another part of Queensland,” Mr Harper-Green said.

“There are a lot of differences between life out here in South West Queensland and life in the city, but at the end of the day kids are kids, no matter where they live and they have the same concerns.

“When a disaster looms they want to know they’ll be safe and that their family, friends and pets will be safe as well.

“By being involved in the discussion they have picked up some important steps to get ready and can hopefully continue that discussion with their families.” 

The video conference was part of the launch for Get Ready Queensland Week, which encourages all Queenslanders to think about how they can prepare for the upcoming summer storm and cyclone season.

The video link with Cunnamulla State School and Sacred Heart Primary School (Cunnamulla) was made possible thanks to the team at the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Head of NBN Local Queensland Kylie Lindsay said access to current and accurate information was critical to making informed decisions during and immediately after a disaster.

“Major blackouts caused by floods and bushfires can disrupt phone and internet connections,” Ms Lindsay said. 

“It is essential that people have a back-up plan so they can continue to access potentially life-saving information when disaster strikes.

“It may seem old fashioned, but a battery-operated radio can be a life saver in the event of a power or internet disruption, giving people the ability to tune in to their local radio station for weather updates and warnings.

“A rechargeable power bank can also be a great way to keep your phone running and keep you connected while you wait for the power to return.”

Get Ready Queensland Week also saw the start of a state-wide public awareness campaign, featuring Johnathan Thurston. The advertising campaign will run until
21 November.

For more information on Get Ready Queensland, including the schools competition and advertising campaign, visit