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Flood forum hears call for national disaster levy

Tuesday May 7, 2013 - 13:24 EST

A Gympie business owner says Australia needs a national levy to cover the cost of disasters.

Disasters have cost Australia billions of dollars in the past few years - Gympie has had five major floods in two years.

About 50 business owners were at a forum in the city last night to be briefed by consultants doing a flood mitigation study for council.

Kerren Smith's business has lost 5,000 production hours due to flooding this year and he says a scheme similar to the disability insurance levy is needed for disasters.

"While you may not be able to mitigate flooding, you can probably soften some of the financial and economic impacts in an area when it happens, particularly in continuous activities in a short time like it has [happened] here," he said.

"There's no time for recovery and people fail, so I think there's becoming a requirement in this country for a disaster type insurance program that is money that we all pay for."

Gympie Mayor Ron Dyne has moved to allay concerns about the comprehensiveness of the flood study.

Some business owners attending the forum were concerned that not enough people would be interviewed to gauge the full cost of flooding and that more time would be needed.

Councillor Dyne says the study will be thorough but it is important to have it completed as soon as possible to push for disaster funding.

"We're missing out on a lot of stuff that other towns are picking up on," he said.

"I use the example of Ipswich and Roma, that's because they already have that study there and they could lay it on the desk of state and federal governments and get their money and that's what we need to do is to have the initial impact.

"If there's a requirement for continued study well then we'll have to address that issue later on."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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