It's hard to fathom that it wasn't until Tuesday of this week that the Queensland and NSW floods were declared a natural disaster by the federal government. After more than a week of torrential rains, rivers breaking their banks, major cities inundated and people dying in floodwaters.
The declaration brings with it a certain level of support and access to government assistance. But for many that's too little, too late.
Twenty-one people dead, millions - perhaps billions - of dollars in damage to major cities and regional areas alike, and communities left to rally their own support as state and federal governments posture and bicker over who's in charge of a response.
Sounds all too familiar doesn't it?
Two years ago, South East NSW was devastated by bushfires from all sides. Two years before that, the Reedy Swamp/Tathra bushfires tore a hole through one of our most picturesque seaside villages.
What lessons have been learned since? Precious few it seems.
No-one's suggesting governments can control the weather. But they most certainly have the power and funding to prepare for it and to instigate an emergency response once Mother Nature triggers yet another of her all-too-regular attacks on Australia.
Instead we see governments scrambling once again, seemingly unprepared for disasters of this scale - despite previous experiences, countless inquiries and reams of recommendations.
Where would be we be without the SES? These incredible volunteers - along with colleagues in the various other volunteer emergency services - are there in the thick of it from day one, dropping their own lives to help others.
And then when the cleanup begins, it's our tight-knit communities doing it for themselves. There have been reports of northern NSW communities organisng their own helicopter food drops.
Just like after the bushfires, it's the people of this great country rallying the troops, coordinating donations of essential goods and providing the services necessary to get those hardest hit back on their feet.
Defence can be of help - but are they too busy planning a $10billion nuclear submarine base on the same coast being devastated by floods?
It's awful that it doesn't feel too surprising that the submarine base was announced before a national disaster was declared.
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