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Flood donations trickle as damage bill mounts

By Chris O'Brien and staff, Monday February 4, 2013 - 19:54 EDT
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Flood appeal committee chairman Terry Mackenroth the response so far will not go close to addressing the level of need. - ABC

The chairman of the Queensland flood appeal committee has urged people to dig deeper to help disaster victims.

As floodwaters recede in many communities, businesses and locals are beginning to count the cost of the disaster.

In the Wide Bay region alone, the damage bill is estimated to top $200 million in Bundaberg and $150 million in the North Burnett.

The Red Cross Flood Appeal committee has met for the first time to work out where the greatest needs are and where to direct the money.

After Queensland's 2011 flood disaster $250 million was raised, but this year the figure is around $6 million, including $2 million from the State and Federal governments.

Committee chairman Terry Mackenroth says that is nowhere near enough for disaster victims' needs.

He says the appeal would need $15 million just to make emergency payouts, without addressing long-term needs.

"The amount of donations that we've received up to date is very low," he said.

"For the amount of devastation I've seen, just through watching television, [it] is not going to go anywhere near paying the sorts of claims that we'll receive.



"I'm really appealing to the corporations right throughout Australia to help us in this appeal."

He says companies and businesses should also donate.

"I think there's been a number of disasters in Australia over the past 10 years," he said.

"So there's been a lot of appeals and companies have probably given a lot and that makes it just that much tougher to continue to make donations."

Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham, who is also on the committee, says it will be challenging to help communities with limited funds.

"I think we've got to bear in mind too that people who are giving may also be financially strained, there's no bottomless pockets, people are generous but certainly there's a huge gulf between $5 million and $250 million," she said.

"So no there isn't a lot of money at the moment but I still do think that we need to get it out as quickly as possible."

Anyone wishing to donate should or go to branches of Australia Post, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Bank Of Queensland, St George Bank or National Australia Bank.

Meanwhile, the State Government has called on the Commonwealth to help build stronger infrastructure in flood-prone areas.

Community Recovery Minister David Crisafulli says current rules only allow for like-for-like reconstruction.

"It is absurd that we continue to replace the same bits of infrastructure with like for like and it gets ripped up," he said.

"In some cases I've stood on bridges that have been replaced three and four times in the last five years."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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