15 August 2023, Cr Liesbeth Long- Maryborough Advertiser


Some of you probably groan when seeing the word ‘Councillor’, indeed I used to be just like that not so long ago. The phrases “Feathering one’s nest” and “Snouts in troughs” get bandied about a bit, especially on social media.

So, I was a bit apprehensive attending the “Women rising: Flood Recovery in Central Goldfields” Focus Group last week, as I wasn’t sure of the reception I was going to receive.

When tragedies such as natural disasters occur, it tends to be human nature to point the finger and lay blame on someone or something. Council and Councillors are a good target. However, I am not only a Councillor, I am also a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a business partner and a farmer.

Like so many, our farm was flooded late last year. We lost fences and had tons of debris washed up and suffered huge losses in our crops, especially the canola, due to waterlogged paddocks. Fortunately, we didn’t lose any livestock.

I need not have worried about attending the focus group though. My fellow participants were compassionate and had empathy for every one’s story, mine included.

A standout was that even though the 2022 flood waters have long receded, there is still a lot of pain, mental anguish, anxiety, and sorrow. Speaking about my experience of the flood bubbled up a whole raft of emotions that I didn’t even know were there. I wasn’t the only one.

Everyone commented that it was so helpful to just talk about the events, to share stories and to feel that you are not alone.

It was certainly a good way to continue the healing process and I am grateful that residents of Central Goldfields had an opportunity to participate.

/Public Release. View in full here.