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North Queensland flood victims to receive extra disaster assistance

Monday March 5, 2018 - 12:13 EDT
ABC licensed image
Giru, south-east of Townsville, has been drenched by heavy rainfall this month. - ABC licensed

The repair bill for damage to roads and houses is expected to run into the millions of dollars, with communities in north Queensland drenched from severe flooding due to a low-pressure system.

Areas including Burdekin, Charters Towers, Etheridge, Palm Island and Townsville have been battling heavy rainfall since last month.

State Emergency Service crews have been assessing the damage, but Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said it could take up to six weeks before the full extent of repairs was known.

"The significant issue is with the water damage to substrate under roads, it won't be apparent until later," she said.

"On the weekend I went for a quick drive, you can already see some of the roads break up. That will become more apparent over the next few weeks."

Communities affected by the severe flooding will be offered additional disaster assistance by state and federal governments.

But another deluge is on the way, with rainfall in the Townsville region to start increasing again from Wednesday.

Councillor Hill praised both the state and federal Governments for acting quickly.

She said Council will also start looking at damage to properties from flooding, but repairs to private residences won't be covered under disaster recovery arrangements.

On Thursday nearly 90 rain gauges in the Townsville area recorded more than 100 millimetres of rainfall in a 24-hour period and Bluewater, on the city's northern outskirts, received 358 millimetres.

Queensland Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford inspected Townsville's floodwater damage last week and said providing assistance to the community was a priority.

"While the rain was certainly welcome in Townsville, a large amount of it fell over the city, causing infrastructure to be damaged," he said in a statement.

"Authorities have switched into recovery mode, and crews have been out and about assessing any damage."

State Emergency Service crews conducted damage assessments in Townsville over the weekend.

North Queensland councils will use the reports to lodge applications for funding with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

Western Queensland also faces clean up

Regional councils in western Queensland are also assessing whether to make a claim for disaster relief.

Over the weekend, the low-pressure system .

Early on Monday, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the system was tracking towards Julia Creek, McKinlay and Richmond.

The federal minister responsible for Commonwealth disaster assistance, Angus Taylor, said in a statement funding was being handed to the affected areas through the Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

"The low pressure system moving across north Queensland has caused significant rainfall and flooding across the region," he said.

"In the Townsville area alone, over 300 millimetres of rainfall has fallen in the last week.

"More broadly across the region, floodwaters have affected numerous communities, particularly because of road closures and debris damage.

"This assistance demonstrates our commitment to act quickly and ensure local governments can get on with the job of cleaning up debris and repairing damaged roads."

More rain is expected to hit north Queensland in the coming days and Mr Crawford said they would continue to monitor the situation.

Rain is also set to keep falling over south-east Queensland this week.

Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast has recorded 88 millimetres of rain since 9:00am yesterday morning.

Thunderstorm warnings are expected today for Brisbane and the Gold Coast.


© ABC 2018

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