Soldiers from 11th Brigade assisting in the clean up at Coomera.
ADF personnel are helping with the clean up after damaging storms in Queensland. Image by HANDOUT/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE
  • flood

Cost of wild weather hits $2 billion and counting

January 5, 2024

Weeks of wild weather have already racked up a $2 billion repair bill for Queensland.

But deputy premier Cameron Dick has warned that estimate could rise as the full extent of the damage is assessed.

Queensland has started to count the cost of a disaster-riddled period that included everything from a cyclone in the north to a tornado in the south.

A major recovery effort is under way, with the Australian Defence Force assisting after seven people died in storm-related incidents.

Mr Dick said the combined economic impact and recovery cost currently stood at $2 billion but warned it was a “very preliminary figure”.

He said at least $1 billion was needed to restore essential infrastructure after record flooding caused by ex-tropical cyclone Jasper in the far north and devastating storms in the southeast.

About $500 million would be required for road reconstruction alone.

“But this is a very early estimate,” Mr Dick said.

“These are very early days.

“It will take months not only to do the estimate but of course to do the recovery work.”

In the southeast, at least 500 homes have been damaged after the Gold Coast experienced a tornado on Christmas Day while the Logan and Scenic Rim regions were hit by storms and flash flooding.

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said a once-in-a-generation storm clean-up loomed after some structures were “obliterated”.

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

Storm damage is seen in Oxenford
 Weeks of wild weather have already racked up a billion repair bill for Queensland. Image by JASON O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS 

About 800 homes have been impacted in the far north.

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

The entire Gold Coast council area – spanning almost 650,000 people – was on Friday made eligible to apply for personal hardship grants worth up to $900 for a family.

The team processing assistance applications has grown from 85 to 400.

The team can also direct displaced people to other assistance they might be eligible for through charities and non-government organisations.

“They’re just lost, (that) is the message I’ve been receiving a lot of the time,” team member Gloria Ah Chong said.

“That’s basically where we need to ensure our staff are supporting them, not just through the grant but the additional support.”

Storm damage is seen in Oxenford
 There have been 6000 insurance claims in Queensland’s far north and 42,000 in the southeast. Image by JASON O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS 

A dedicated Lifeline phone service also opened on Friday.

There have been 6000 insurance claims in the far north and 42,000 in the southeast.

Mr Dick said he was not concerned about any impact on the Queensland budget despite the growing damage bill.

Assessments will continue as the recovery gains momentum in the southeast.

Some residents have had no electricity since Christmas with more than 130,000 people without power at one stage.

Almost 4000 homes were still in the dark on Friday afternoon.

More than 50 ADF personnel were assisting 900 energy crews on Friday after storms destroyed hundreds of power poles.

There was more rain in the southeast on Friday but no repeat of recent wild weather.