Somerset flood bill hits $50m
THE damage bill from last month’s devastating floods in the Somerset Regional Council area is likely to exceed $50 million.
Hundreds of homes were inundated, roads destroyed and much of the region’s infrastructure was badly impacted when floodwater tore through Brisbane Valley from January 11.
Somerset Regional Council chief executive officer Bob Bain said the region was still in the emergency stage.
“This means the facilities and the roads are being restored to trafficable standards, not to their full restoration,” Mr Bain said.
“It’s a case of getting them working as opposed to what they were before.”
Lockyer Valley Regional Council has estimated its damage bill could reach $1 billion with towns in its council area wiped out and dozens of roads destroyed.
In the Ipswich City Council region, the damage is expected to top $100 million, and Scenic Rim Regional Council estimates it will have to find more than $10 million.
Mr Bain estimates it could take up to two years for Brisbane Valley to fully recover from the disaster.
“In terms of the clean-up, council is continuing to coordinate the clean-up effort with employees and contractors,” he said.
Mr Bain said the council had been criticised for its efforts but was doing everything it could to coordinate the clean-up effort as quickly as possible.
“We have Zanows (Sand and Gravel business) going around and picking up the refuse that has been put on the footpath as we don’t have enough vehicles or staff to do it all,” he said.
“We have cleaned some of the towns once, twice and some of them three times, picking up the debris, but we are still cleaning up.
“A lot of the road reconstructions are actually being done by contractors under the direction of council.
“It’s critical to keep transport routes going.”
Mr Bain said flood damage had been widespread in the Somerset region but council employees and contractors were doing “their best” with limited resources.
“We have less than 200 staff and we’ve been hit everywhere so we don’t have the manpower for our staff to do everything,” he said.
“We thank the community for working together during this difficult time.”