It is Queensland’s multimillion-dollar nightmare.
As authorities admitted yesterday the clean-up would take years instead of months, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was left to defend her $1 million donation to the state disaster appeal.
Ms Gillard also announced hardship payments for families whose homes were flood damaged, but pressure mounted for the Commonwealth to dig deeper.
“This is the whole of Queensland’s industry that is under siege,” Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce said.
Ms Gillard said more funding would be available under national disaster arrangements, but she couldn’t flag a figure.
“I can’t give you what the total figure is, because I can’t tell you what the damage is going to be,” Ms Gillard said.
Premier Anna Bligh’s appeal fund sat at about $7 million last night, but that tally won’t come close to covering the hardship for the thousands of Queenslanders who have lost everything.
At a localised level, the heartbreak of the floods for many Queenslanders will come in the form of personal bankruptcy.
Struggling councils will also be hit with increased costs almost certain to be passed on to the ratepayer in 2011.
I like many others could not believe it when the Prime Minister announced only $1 Million dollars to the disaster appeal. This year alone the Federal Government has given away Billions of dollars to other Countries, but when it comes to helping their own citizens in times of hardship $1 Million is all they put in the kitty. Absolutely disgraceful.
Military to Help as Crisis Deepens.
A MASSIVE logistical operation is under way across Queensland to evacuate thousands of people and deliver emergency supplies.
Communities and properties have been isolated by the worst flooding in the state’s recorded history.
This Nissan 4WD was swept off the Warwick-Allora Rd, Allora, with two adults aboard. Locals residents Lance Frizzell and Charlie Logan and family used a crane truck and 6-tonne lifting slings to secure the vehicle and rescue both occupants. Picture: Charlie Logan
Rising floodwaters have now hit an area bigger than France and Germany combined, with forced evacuations in the central Queensland towns of Emerald, Condamine, Theodore and the regional city of Rockhampton, which is expected to be cut off over the weekend.
Streets and yards go under in floods in Emerald. Picture: Jodie Richter
More than 1000 people are already staying in 17 evacuation centres. The Queensland Emergency Service said more than 4000 people could be forced to seek sanctuary in the refuges over the next few days.
The military yesterday stepped up its involvement, with an RAAF Hercules flying to flood-devastated Emerald – where 1200 people have abandoned their homes – to set up an emergency shelter as Premier Anna Bligh warned the town was facing a “very serious, dire” situation.