Capalaba MP Don Brown, Redland City mayor Karen Williams lash out over early emergency warning system

ALERTS: Capalaba MP Don Brown says a localised early warning SMS system would centralise emergency information from federal, state and local government agencies.
ALERTS: Capalaba MP Don Brown says a localised early warning SMS system would centralise emergency information from federal, state and local government agencies.

CAPALABA MP Don Brown says he was shocked that the Redland City Council did not have an emergency warning system, but a furious mayor Karen Williams has slammed Mr Brown for causing concern just weeks before the city's service would be made available.

In the middle of the state's bushfire crisis, Mr Brown said that more than 90 per cent of people in a poll that he ran had called for Redland City Council to adopt an SMS or app early warning system, which most south-east Queensland councils had.

"I hope the mayor and councillors could investigate this option," Mr Brown said. "I am happy to work alongside them to assist in this process."

Cr Williams said the council's early alert SMS system would be available within weeks.

She said people had told her they were shocked that Mr Brown would use the fire situation for political gain.

Capalaba MP Don Brown.

Capalaba MP Don Brown.

"In this instance Mr Brown's ill-informed comments resulted in concern within the community, meaning council had to respond to his social media stunt when we had more pressing matters at hand like preparing the community during the current bushfire risk," Cr Williams said.

"Had Mr Brown bothered to check the facts before posting to social media, he would have learnt that the plan has always been to offer such a service ahead of the traditional fire season.

"He also would've learnt that we have successfully used the QFES early alert SMS system on a number of occasions and our own social media presence to provide advice to the community."

Mr Brown said that it was clear from recent fires in the Gold Coast hinterland and the Noosa area how quickly dangers could emerge and how important it was to communicate with residents.

Redland City mayor Karen Williams.

Redland City mayor Karen Williams.

"Redlands does not escape the effects of floods, storms and bushfires," he said. "On top of that, we have that added complexities and isolation of the Moreton Bay islands."

Mr Brown said a localised early warning SMS system that residents signed up to would centralise emergency information from federal, state and local government agencies like the Bureau of Meteorology, SEQ Water, QFES and SES.

"We must remember that not everyone has a smart phone and Facebook posts do not always reach a persons feed," he said. "It is obvious from the survey result that residents would like an SMS option."

Cr Williams said that residents often told her they were tired of "Mr Brown's post-first ask later" approach.

"Don's mud-slinging on social media isn't new. The community has come to expect it and generally we all ignore it, but when it causes concern and potential risk it can't go unchecked," she said.

"His actions are hurting the government in the Redlands and are wearing thin with council and the community, he really needs to do better.

"I sometimes wonder what he would do if he didn't have social media, would he make ill-informed comments and offend people on an individual basis or perhaps hire a billboard for greater reach?"

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