The Federal and Queensland State Governments have jointly announced a further funding package for communities affected by flooding in central and northern Queensland.
The $119.1 million package was jointly announced on Wednesday (17 January) by Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt and Queensland Premier Steven Miles, and is designed to support infrastructure reconstruction and long-term community, economic and environmental recovery.
The funding is provided under Category C and D of the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), and will be divided into several packages, including:
- $100 million Betterment Fund to rebuild infrastructure to a more resilient standard across all impacted local government areas (LGAs)
- $15 million Environment Recovery Package for environmental investigations, the clean-up and recovery of waterways, biodiversity and invasive species management, and national park recovery in Boulia Shire Council, Burke Shire Council, Carpentaria Shire Council, Cloncurry Shire Council, Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council, Mornington Shire Council and Mount Isa City Council
- $2.2 million Human and Social Recovery Package for community recovery and resilience in Burke, Doomadgee and Carpentaria LGAs
- $1.4 million Economic Recovery Package including tourism recovery and resilience investments, and livestock and grazing land recovery
- Financial support for all impacted councils to undertake clean-up and road, bridge and footpath repairs.
The funding will be made available to 45 local government areas that were disaster declared at the time, and the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to improve the resilience of essential public assets such as roads and bridges damaged as a direct result of the monsoon and flooding.
The package follows several previous disaster relief packages which have already been provided to communities across Queensland affected by floods since Cyclone Jasper made landfall north of Cairns on 13 January, the storms which hit South East Queensland between Christmas Day and the first week of January, and the ongoing monsoonal rains right across central and north Queensland through 2023 and into 2024.
Minister Watt said the support would help the local government areas to recover long-term and be more resilient when they faced future natural disasters.
“Considering many of the impacted areas were also hit by the 2019 monsoon event, investment in Betterment – ensuring infrastructure is built back to a more resilient standard – is crucial to better protecting these disaster-prone regions in the future,” he said.
“I hope today’s announcement shows communities we are with them well after the flood waters recede, and will keep working with the Queensland Government, local councils, and community leaders to ensure northern and central Queenslanders receive the support they need to rebuild and recover from these events.”
Premier Miles said the monsoon was intense, widespread and prolonged, and was causing significant damage across large parts of Queensland.
“Travelling to the northwest last April, I saw firsthand the impact flooding had on some of our most remote communities, and the need for long-term investment in stronger infrastructure,” he said.
“Our regional transport network was particularly battered, further isolating what are already some of our most remote communities.
“That’s why we’re making a $100 million investment in Betterment projects for impacted communities, to ensure these Queenslanders are reconnected sooner when future disasters strike.”