Lockyer to face $1b flood bill

Lockyer Valley Regional Council mayor Steve Jones looks over damage in Helidon after last month’s devastating floods.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council mayor Steve Jones looks over damage in Helidon after last month’s devastating floods. Rob Williams

THE damage bill from the state’s worst natural disaster could soar to as high as $1 billion in the Lockyer Valley alone.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Steve Jones said January’s flooding had a devastating impact on vital infrastructure.

“What we have seen here is a disaster of catastrophic proportions,” Cr Jones said.

“I don’t think $1 billion is an unrealistic estimate of the region’s damage bill. It’s unfortunate but it’s also realistic.”

Cr Jones said he estimated at least $400 million of the damage bill would have to be paid out from the council’s own funds.

The Federal Government has earmarked $3.9 billion and the State Government $1.5 billion for rebuilding.

Precise details of what support the Lockyer Valley will be offered are yet to emerge.

“We have no other choice but to find the money and re-evaluate all our current projects,” Cr Jones said.

In the Ipswich City Council region the damage is expected to top $100 million.

Somerset Regional Council has yet to put a figure on its damage bill, while Scenic Rim Regional Council estimates it will need to find more than $10 million.

About 85 per cent of council-owned bridges in the Lockyer Valley have either been completely washed away or partially destroyed, Cr Jones said.

“Hundreds of roads across council’s entire road network have suffered some kind of damage and many are still closed because they just aren’t safe,” he said.

Among the region’s worst-affected areas is Grantham, where more than 15 people died after an unexpected torrent of water tore through the town, leaving lives, and the town itself, in a shambles.

“This disaster has been absolutely horrendous. The lives lost and the tragedies that have occurred are unspeakable and we can’t change that... but what we can do is stay strong and rebuild,” Cr Jones said.

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