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Queensland offers buybacks in $741 million package

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The Queensland Government will provide funding for house raising, retrofitting and voluntary buybacks of properties at risk from future floods as part of a $741 million resilience funding package.

The government is additionally providing $30 million clean-up funding to support councils and agencies with the removal of flood-related rubbish, including commercial, building and housing debris not normally eligible for reimbursement.

“This is the biggest single disaster support package in Queensland’s history and it reflects not only the immediate challenge in terms of cleaning up and rebuilding but the longer-term need to increase resilience in Queensland communities,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Ms Palaszczuk says the recent flooding is very different to the events seen in 2011 but is of the same scale, if not larger.

“Some of these communities, like Gympie and the Fraser Coast, were still reeling from flooding in December and January when the recent South East Queensland flooding disaster hit,” she said.

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) CEO Andrew Hall says the announcement highlights that governments are shifting their thinking toward learning from the lessons of the current disaster and investing in mitigation ahead of inevitable next events.

“We note that the funding will be across a range of mitigation measures, including, at the extreme, the buyback of properties that are highly vulnerable and whose owners struggle to find insurance cover,” he said.

ICA says insurers hold significant data and research that can assist in resilience and mitigation efforts and it stands ready to assist the Government following the announcement.

RACQ CEO David Carter says the forward-looking program will help avoid the “vicious cycle of repair, rebuild and repeat”.

“Many flood-affected homes remain in high-risk areas and any measure that improves their resilience and enables them to better withstand the next major weather event should be supported,” Mr Carter said.

“Additionally, we encourage governments to work together and include resilience standards in the building code so when the next flooding event occurs, impacted homes will automatically be built back better, in line with standards set for cyclones and bushfires.”