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Qld roads flood damage bill tops $1b: Minister

By Alyse Edwards, Thursday March 7, 2013 - 11:59 EDT
Audience submitted image
Roads in Qld's North and South Burnett regions are hardest hit and will need to be rebuilt to withstand future floods. - Audience submitted

Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson says the recent floods have caused more than $1 billion worth of damage to roads across the state.

Mr Emerson says roads in the North and South Burnett regions in the state's south are hardest hit and will need to be rebuilt to withstand future floods.

He says more federal funding is needed.

"What's happened from these flood events over the last couple of weeks ... our estimate is about $1.5 billion worth of work that will now need to to be done," he said.

"In terms of repairs from the floods, again we will work with the Commonwealth but we understand how important it is to get these roads fixed.

"We understand how important they are to local communities - they are lifelines not just for convenience for people but economic lifelines too."

He says money for repairs two years ago could have been spent differently.

"There was a better way of doing it," he said.

"If you keep doing the things you've done before when you have the weather events we've seen, you have the same results.

"We've said to the Commonwealth, we believe the rules need to be changed.

"We believe that if we're going to repair these roads we want to make them with greater resilience so that we don't have to come back again inevitably ... that we build them to withstand more."

Meanwhile, North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh says a federal disaster funding grant of $6.6 million is not enough to fix flood-affected infrastructure in the region.

Councillor Waugh says the money will go towards repairing the Ravens Creek Bridge, Dahtlers Bridge and Waratah Bridge, as well as Mundubbera, Monto and Eidsvold water mains.

He says council will be to do repairs but more money is needed to improve the infrastructure.

"They've come to the party with the cost of re-establishing it but what we need to get now is an agreement in a betterment program that is going to lift it above that level," he said.

"That's still in the arms of the gods but we will keep pursuing that area and the Minister I think now understands what needs to be put in place and what funds need to be put forward."

Cr Waugh says the federal grant is a good start but it is not enough to safeguard farmers in future flood events.

He says the industry is struggling.

"The primary producers, they weren't looking for handouts ... what they wanted was for the Government to look after them in their industries so they could get a reasonable price for their product," he said.

"At the present time dairy farmers are in an extremely bad way and citrus growers are virtually in the same situation.

"Pork producers have got to battle and there doesn't seem to be enough support for primary producers."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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