Queensland flood appeal kicks off as new figures reveal extent of damage
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is asking Queenslanders to dig deep and donate to flood-affected families, announcing the state government will start the Queensland flood appeal with $2.1 million.
- Close to 27,000 hardship grant applications have already been made
- Suncorp Insurance says 15,000 claims have been made in Queensland
- Clean-up efforts have now transitioned from response to recovery mode
Ms Palaszczuk said the Australian Red Cross, Lifeline, The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul would each receive $500,000.
BHP is donating $2 million and Suncorp is donating $1 million across the Queensland and New South Wales disaster, with $200,000 going towards the government’s flood appeal.
It comes as the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning for heavy rain and damaging winds for the Gympie, Cherbourg, Sunshine Coast, Somerset, South Burnett, Wide Bay, Darling Downs and Granite Belt regions.
As the extent of the damage starts to come to light, Ms Palaszczuk has revealed 26,686 hardship grant applications had been submitted so far.
There have been 9,643 payments made totalling $4.2 million and benefiting 23,000 people.
On Saturday, the state and federal governments announced a financial support package of $558.5 million for small businesses, farmers, not-for-profit organisations and sporting and community clubs devastated by the flood emergency.
Ms Palaszczuk said there had also been more than 10,000 calls to the community safety hotline.
Suncorp Insurance said 15,000 claims had been made in Queensland alone.
It said the five most affected suburbs were Rocklea, Deagon, Brighton, Windsor and The Gap.
Logan Mayor Darren Power said 90 homes were lost in his region, and 50 businesses inundated.
“Logan dodged a bullet. Had it not stopped raining on Sunday night, it would’ve been a lot worse,” he said.
More wild weather forecast
Meteorologist Steve Hadley said storms were forming in the eastern Downs and would move towards the coast as the day progressed.
“We’ll see some development over the Dividing Range and Main Range probably by the early afternoon, maybe even local development near the coast in the Brisbane area in the early afternoon as well,” Mr Hadley said.
“[There is] also a good possibility that we’ll see some severe storm cells moving through with that lot that comes through this afternoon and into the evening as well probably subsiding during the evening.
“I think it’ll probably become a little bit quieter in the Brisbane area at least by late evening.
“It may take longer to clear up around the Sunshine Coast and around Wide Bay and up into the Capricornia as well.
“If you’re in that part of the world, the storms may last into the night up there.”
Widespread rain of up to 20 millimetres is forecast, with the potential for isolated falls of up to 100 millimetres in some areas.
Mr Hadley said it was hard to predict where the heaviest falls could be, with areas from Rockhampton to Brisbane at risk.
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll is urging people to be careful on the roads this afternoon.
“It is still quite saturated,” she said.
“We will expect flash flooding so please be patient, please keep off flooded waters.”
Flood-hit areas in recovery phase
Authorities said the disaster response had moved into the recovery phase.
The Mud Army 2.0 has been stood down after Saturday’s major effort.
The defence force will takeover on Monday, with 135 personnel already assisting across Ipswich, the Lockyer Valley, Gympie and Brisbane.
There are clean-up efforts happening in some areas of the Redlands and Moreton Bay today.
Some communities in Gympie are still isolated but they are being looked after and the roads to those communities are expected to open on Monday.
There are 140 people left in evacuation centres.
Ms Palaszczuk said only 3,000 people were still without power.
“So that (restoring electricity) has been a huge mammoth effort as well,” she said.
She said fewer than a dozen state schools would remain closed tomorrow, with the list to be published on the state government website later this afternoon.
Council rebate available in Brisbane
It comes as Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner announced up to 28,000 residents and business owners affected by flooding in Brisbane would receive a $250 rebate for their next rates bill, as part of a recovery package from the Brisbane City Council.
Mr Schrinner said although the clean-up and recovery was still underway, the financial toll on many residents and business owners was expected to continue for quite some time.
“[From what] I’ve seen so far, we will have more flood waste and debris to collect then there was in 2011 as well. So the task in terms of that kerbside collection is significantly more than what it was in 2011.”
He said all Brisbane residential rates notices for the April quarter would also be postponed a month, ensuring bills did not arrive until the end of next month.
Public transport system returns
Minister for Transport Mark Bailey said “most” rail services, and 90 per cent of bus services would be operational tomorrow as Greater Brisbane continued to recover from the flood disaster.
Mr Bailey said the government still had “concerns” over stations throughout Logan, which would remain closed.
The Beenleigh station has opened, but buses will continue to replace trains from Beenleigh to Kuraby.
The Shorncliffe and Cleveland lines will be running.
Mr Bailey said everything was being done to restore stations past Ipswich on the Rosewood line.
Some roads remain closed as repair works continue.
“We’re opening as much as we can, as well as making sure it’s safe … we’ll continue to see gradual improvements [to road conditions] during the week,” he said.