June 3, 2019
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour and South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell made an emotional pilgrimage to Kumbia on Saturday afternoon.
The pair travelled to the site of last week’s horrific crash near the junction of Mannuem Road and the Bunya Highway.
The crash claimed the lives of Fraser Coast mother Charmaine McLeod and her four young children, Aaleyn, Matilda, Wyatt and Zaidok on May 27.
The crash site is now an empty stretch of burned ground, with a few bouquets of flowers placed next to a post by grieving locals.
Mayor Seymour brought along a wreath from the staff and students of Kawungan State School which was attended by two of the children (Aaleyn and Matilda), along with a wreath from the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
Mayor Campbell also brought a wreath from the South Burnett Regional Council to lay on behalf of the South Burnett’s communities.
Mayor Campbell said he knew many people throughout the region were disturbed by the recent spate of road crashes which have claimed so many lives.
He hoped the wreath-laying would help bring them some sense of closure, and allow the healing process to begin.
Mayor Seymour said his own community was also hurting, and he had made the long journey to the South Burnett to bring some measure of comfort to them as well.
After the informal wreath-laying ceremony, the two Mayors observed a minute’s silence in memory of all the other victims of recent road crashes, their families and loved ones.
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Investigations into last week’s tragic crash near Kumbia could take months to be finalised.
Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating, from the Road Policing Command, told reporters on Monday the preliminary assessment of the Kumbia crash had ruled the five deaths as “out of scope” of the official road toll.
He said after any fatal crash occurred, a preliminary assessment was made by police whether it was “in scope” or “out of scope”.
This referred to reporting guidelines established by the Federal Government to ensure road toll consistency between various police jurisdictions.
“Over time, the Coroner may determine that the preliminary decision we have made is either correct or incorrect, and if necessary, we will adjust the reporting program,” Asst Commissioner Keating said.
“It can be a long process; it can be a complicated process, but generally the decision we make each morning on that daily basis, I would say, is about 98 to 99 per cent confirmed over time.”
Asst Commissioner Keating said the investigation into the Kumbia crash was continuing.
“I don’t expect that investigation to conclude very quickly,” he said.
“That will be a matter where there will be a comprehensive report provided to the Coroner in due course.
“We will have to wait to see whether the Coroner actually holds an open inquest into that so it will be some months before the final conditions of that crash and the circumstances that led to that tragedy are concluded by the Coroner.”