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Flood-hit Bundaberg gets free building repair advice

By Eric Tlozek and Emma Pollard, Monday February 11, 2013 - 09:19 EDT

The Queensland Government is providing building regulation information sessions today for Bundaberg residents whose homes and businesses were hit by the floods.

Housing Minister Tim Mander says residents should get advice on the dangers and regulations affecting repairs to flood-damaged homes in the southern Queensland city.

Mr Mander says the sessions will cover building regulations, safety and advice on issues like asbestos.

"Many people will be wondering where to start and they'll be seeking advice on some of those issues that they might not even be aware of, or are a bit more complex," he said.

"They can talk to the experts directly, who'll really be able to give them good advice.

"When water has gone through homes there can be a whole range of issues that need to be addressed.

"Asbestos is the classic one and we just want to make sure they're aware of how those issues need to be handled."

Free electrical work

Meanwhile, a group of electricians will be in Bundaberg for a fortnight to perform free electrical safety work for residents who are struggling after the flood.

The Electrical Trades Union (ETU) says 'Operation Energise' will focus on community groups, pensioners, sole parents and people who are uninsured.

ETU assistant secretary Keith McKenzie says industry contractors and Queensland electricity companies are paying for the project.

"That's what the industry's about, the electrical industry in times of hardship, and when things are down, whether employer or union, we all stick together and work together the best we can to look after one another," he said.

"In this case it's the people of north Bundaberg who are affected.

"To try and give them a bit of hope - to put a powerpoint in their switchboard if their home's been completely wiped out and they've got a powerpoint to plug in a water Gerni or a fridge or a bed lamp or people who have had partial damage and just want some testing done.

"All this testing and installation will be done free of charge."

The electricians are expected to start work in Bundaberg tomorrow.

Rents to rise

Meanwhile, the shortage of available properties is also expected to push up rents in flood-hit Bundaberg.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) says most of the vacant properties in the area have been taken.

REIQ Bundaberg zone chairman Mike Dempsey says that could make new rental properties dearer.

Mr Dempsey says there were about 200 vacancies before the flood but most agents now only have one or two properties that are still free.

"We've just asked to do a bit of a survey and rang around and most agents just have one or two and they're normally on the peripheral of Bundaberg, so just about everything in town has gone," he said.

"The ones that were there I don't think people have been that callous as to try and get higher rents.

"They're just happy to get people in there and help them out, but I suppose it's supply and demand.

"The new properties coming on the market I think will be a bit dearer for sure."


© ABC 2013

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