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Qld’s $2 billion damage bill for rebuild set to rise

Queensland's multibillion-dollar damage bill to keep rising

The bill for damage caused by the wild weather that has lashed Queensland might not be finalised for months.

The combined economic impact and recovery cost stands at a staggering $2 billion.

A massive clean-up lies ahead after record flooding caused by ex-tropical cyclone Jasper in the far north and devastating storms in the south-east in recent weeks.

“The storms have left our city facing a once-in-a-generation storm clean up with some homes and infrastructure basically obliterated,” Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said.

The final repair bill won’t be known until the full extent of the damage is uncovered.

That is easier said than done for locations such as the Palmerston Highway in the far north, which has been hit hard by floodwaters.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads still doesn’t know where the water’s coming from and when it will stop,” Deputy Premier and Treasurer Cameron Dick said on Friday.

“It’s impossible for them at this stage to put a dollar figure on the restoration.”

He said $2 billion was a “very early estimate”.

“I think it will increase significantly over the next weeks and months,” he said.

At least $1 billion will be needed to restore essential infrastructure with about $500 million required for road reconstruction alone.

Dick said the major damage bill did not concern him.

“We will pay what needs to be paid to ensure everyone recovers,” he said.

That could take some time judging by heavily impacted areas such as the Gold Coast, which is still reeling from a Christmas Day tornado.

Tate said 700 streets across 20 suburbs had to be cleared on the Gold Coast, with an estimated 750,000 truckloads of debris.

“The green waste left across the city as a result of storms would fill up to 80 football fields two metres high,” he said.

At least 500 homes have been damaged in the south-east with Logan and Scenic Rim regions also hit hard by storms and flash flooding.

The entire Gold Coast council area – spanning almost 650,000 people – was on Friday made eligible to apply for personal hardship grants.

“The extent of the damage from wild storms that tore through the Gold Coast has quickly become apparent and our hearts go out to all those affected,” federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said.

About 800 homes have been affected in the far north.

More than 60,000 people across the state have already received $11 million in government financial assistance.

There have been 6000 insurance claims in the far north and 42,000 in the south-east.

More than 50 Australian Defence Force personnel are assisting almost 1000 energy crews after storms destroyed hundreds of power poles in the southeast.

At one stage more than 130,000 people were without power.

Authorities had hoped to restore electricity to every home by Friday but the task is not expected to be completed until Sunday night.

-AAP

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