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North Qld roads still bear scars of Cyclone Oswald

By Jesse Dorsett and Sharnie Kim, Tuesday October 15, 2013 - 12:44 EDT

Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson says good progress is being made to repair roads damaged by Cyclone Oswald earlier this year.

Mr Emerson says almost $500 million in contractors have been awarded to complete about half of the infrastructure recovery.

He says the rest will be put out to tender over coming months.

"We're hoping that over the next couple of months and into next year we'll have the rest of those contracts going out," he said.

"We're putting out at the moment about $200 million worth of contracts each month so we are working very quickly to get these roads back up, get the contracts out."

Mr Emerson says the recovery is a mammoth task.

"We had about 5,000 kilometres of roads impacted by cyclone Oswald and ... the damage bill is about $900 million, so we worked to improve that situation very quickly," he said.

"We've got almost $480 million worth of projects out, underway already."

Meanwhile, the State Emergency Service (SES) in Cairns says it is well prepared for the coming wet season, even though new facilities will not be finished until next year.

Construction of a $3 million headquarters has begun but is expected to take up to six months to complete.

The deputy controller for Cairns, John Lacava says the SES has recruited extra volunteers in preparation for potential cyclones and flooding.

"Currently we're working out of our existing relocatable buildings, however, should there be a major event happening, then we have a plan to move into other operational areas so that we can establish a proper operations centre and work out of that," he said.

Residents urged to prepare for cyclone season

The SES is urging north Queensland residents to begin preparations for the storm season.

The weather bureau is predicting four cyclones will form off the Queensland coast this summer, with one expected to make landfall.

Mr Lacava says it is important for people to take responsibility for minimising any potential damage to their homes.

"That doesn't include only making sure that there are no loose objects around the house but to look at things like that tree that may be hanging over the house and maybe it needs branches pruned," he said.

"We need to make sure that people have their roofs and their gutters cleaned.

"These are all areas where in previous cyclones that's where we see most of the damage come from."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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