Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:46): It would be pertinent for me to stand up and talk about the recent floods. After today's performance by the Deputy Premier, I think it is an absolute disgrace that she can laugh her way through half of question time, absolving herself from responsibility and from answering questions about what has happened. It is one of the worst natural disasters in the state's history and she walks off smiling. What an absolute disgrace! However, I do want to pay tribute to the Minister for Emergency Services, who made himself available at every opportunity to answer questions about those concerns that MPs in this place had around responding to those high flows and then the flood event.
The river communities have been through six months of hell, six months of uncertainty, while we had a government minister on holidays. That is an absolute outrage. If the shoe was on the other foot, just imagine what would be coming our way. I have to tell you that is just an absolute disgrace.
What we can say today is that the minister was protected from not answering a question about what happened at Finniss. That was an absolute miscalculation of the worst degree. We then looked at flow forecasts coming into South Australia, coming across the border. Again, in one day we had a forecast of 150 at a press conference, then later in the day, 'Oh, it's hit 180.' There was then another conversation about, 'Well, we're going to hit 190 gigalitres today.'
People prepared for 190 gigalitres. They prepared their homes, they prepared their businesses, they prepared their pumps, and yet we saw another increased flow. As I see it, we had 206 gigalitres of flow at Overland Corner. Overland Corner is an area of the river that has a much more accurate reading of flow coming into South Australia. So it is clear and it is evident that the department got their numbers wrong. Unashamedly, I continue to meet with the department and correct their numbers. What we can say today is that, with 51 gigalitres, every river community is breathing a sigh of relief. Our thoughts continue with those people in the lower reaches of the river because we know that they are still feeling the effects of high flows and very much a high river.
The communities did rally. The councils did a magnificent job. They worked as the community expected them to. They kept their communities dry in most instances and they kept them safe. I must say that my thoughts and prayers go out to the two families who lost those two gentlemen through the course of those floods. We are yet to find out a reason for why those people passed. But I must say that, as one of the biggest natural disasters in the state's history, South Australian river communities came to the front. They sandbagged their neighbour's place. They helped with community assets.
The DefenCell they approved is a very valuable product, although we are now questioning some of the content in some of that DefenCell. I am sure the minister will answer questions as to where that contaminated soil came from and where it is now being deposited because people of the river want to know. They want answers because the Deputy Premier cannot give us answers on anything. All she is interested in is going away on an annual holiday at the peak of the floods. One of the state's worst disasters and the minister went missing. There is no excuse. There is not one excuse for her not to be here. But guess who stepped in? The new leader of the left within the Labor Party—well done.
There are ongoing issues and while the minister is here there are ongoing issues. We are still looking for potable water to be delivered to our communities. We are still waiting for a tourism stimulus program to be rolled out to help local economies. We are still looking to see whether privately-funded levees will be given some level of compensation because, after all, some of those private levees did not just protect one house, they protected a community. What I want to see is a government that promised so much in the beginning continue to support those river communities.
Regarding emergency accommodation, we are still seeing people who are stranded who cannot be given access to emergency accommodation. Roads are now being uncovered damaged. How much money will the government put towards roads? They have announced $60 million. I would imagine they will need to double that amount of money so we can repair roads and futureproof them from floods that could be coming next year. We just do not know.
Again, I am very disappointed with the Deputy Premier. She took holidays as a priority over the river communities that have just experienced the worst natural disaster in the state's history. Shame on you, Deputy Premier.