Qld launches $741m flooded home program
More than 10,000 Queenslanders whose homes have been damaged by recent floods can apply for the state government to buy back their properties or for grants to raise, repair or retrofit them.
The state has been ravaged by six floods, which have killed 28 people, left thousands of homes uninhabitable and caused billions of dollars in damage, since November.
The Queensland government on Thursday launched its $741 million Resilient Homes Fund for residents hit by the three biggest floods: in the south and west in November-December, the Wide Bay Burnett in December-January, and the southeast and Brisbane in February-March.
"So many Queenslanders' homes were ravaged by the recent floods across parts of Queensland," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament.
"We can't stop floods from occurring, but we can take steps to reduce their impact."
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said the grants would allow people to make their homes more flood resilient ahead of future disasters.
Improvements could include replacing floor coverings with a water-resistant finish, or simply moving power outlets clear of recognised flood levels.
"This isn't just about building back, it's about building back better," Mr Miles told reporters.
Mother-of-four Kirsty Inch has been living with relatives since her home flooded in February.
"My house was impacted in the floods this year. First time for me," Ms Inch told reporters.
"I know lots of people have been through this a couple of times, and I can't imagine doing it twice."
State recovery co-ordinator Major General Jake Ellwood said Queenslanders he had spoken to during the clean-up wanted to make their homes more resilient.
"A lot of the people I've spoken to have strong connections to their local community and just want to make their homes more resilient - either by retrofitting or raising them above the flood level," Maj Gen Ellwood said.
"Others want to sell their homes and make a fresh start somewhere else."
The Department of Energy and Public Works will oversee retrofitting and house-raising work, while the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and local governments will manage any buy-backs.
Buy-backs will be on a case-by-case basis and consider the frequency and severity of flooding, the structural safety, and the risk of flooding in the future, the government said
Meanwhile, Brisbane city has counted the cost of the February-March floods and found the damage and repair bill could total $1.32 billion, triple the cost of the 2011 floods.
Mayor Adrian Schrinner said unlike 11 years ago - which affected mainly the Brisbane River - rivers and creeks in 177 suburbs had broken their banks in the recent deluges.
He said council assets across Brisbane, including streetlights, bikeways, sports fields, roads and playgrounds had been damaged.
"There will be a significant cost to the budget, and this will come on top of two years of COVID, which has also had a significant impact," Mr Schrinner said in a statement.
"Recovery and rebuild of this scale cannot happen overnight, and I thank residents for their patience as we plan and budget for our recovery plan."
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