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Damage bill from heavy rain around Bundaberg region 'to reach up to $30m'

By Lexy Hamilton-Smith, Friday October 20, 2017 - 19:00 EDT
ABC image
A flooded house at Lowmead, north of Bundaberg. - ABC

The damage bill from the recent heavy rain and flooding across Queensland's Wide Bay-Burnett region is expected to reach up to $30 million.

About half a metre of rain fell in parts of the region, and damaging roads.

The clean-up of flooded homes, mostly north of Bundaberg, will continue to be difficult as there is more rain to come over the weekend.

Gladstone's Disaster Management Group coordinator Michael Colen said damage assessments were underway.

"We're estimating damage just on the council road network of between $10 and $15 million, that is purely our road network," he said.

"Plus the flooding that we've seen across the region the damage bill could be $20 to $30 million.

"It is very hard to judge at this stage."

It is not yet known which, if any, areas will be eligible to apply for disaster relief funding.

Urgent help is needed: mayor

But North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers and Gladstone Mayor Matt Burnett said urgent help was needed to help repair roads.

"We need to be trusted to get the money up front, that means I can get the community up and running again as fast as possible," Ms Chambers said.

Ms Chambers said the current funding application system was too slow.

"It is not good enough for my people to experience these events and see no progress and no work in between.

Queensland Reconstruction Authority officers are heading to the region over the next few days.

Chief executive Brendan Moon said their assessments would then be sent to the State Government for funding decisions.

"The key is gathering that information in terms of what is the scale and scope of this particular event," he said.

In the meantime, a fast-moving trough is expected to hit the Wide Bay Burnett region again on Saturday.

Bureau of Meterology (BOM) forecaster Dean Narramoa said they were not expecting huge rainfall numbers.

"[It] should be all over by Sunday afternoon and then we will have a week of sunshine return to many areas from early next week."

A second storm cell is heading through far south-west Queensland, bringing welcome relief to drought-affected towns.

"We are seeing thunderstorms around the Thargomindah region and also through Cunnamulla region as well," Mr Narramoa said.

"It will move into Windorah, Charleville and Roma later today ... there could be some falls of up to 500mm."

Sunshine Coast gets rain but not enough

Water is still being pumped from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast to top up the region's low water supply.

Seqwater has the Baroon Pocket Dam at just 57 per cent capacity, despite widespread rain across the Sunshine Coast in the past five days.

While the heavy rain has filled residents' water tanks, spokesman Mike Foster said the rain has added less than 3 per cent to the region's dams.

"It's come off two consecutive and now effectively failed wet seasons and a very hot and dry winter," he said.

"We will continue to move water north to take pressure off that dam until we start to see it at much higher levels then its currently at."

The skies are clearing in Brisbane today with a few showers expected tomorrow before clearing up on Sunday.


© ABC 2017

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