|Premier Anna Bligh|
Queensland has moved into flood reconstruction mode as its disaster management group is disbanded and the state opposition has called for a rebuilding budget as soon as possible.
The opposition says it wants to ensure the entire $10 billion in federal and state flood relief funding is spent on reconstruction, not diverted to other parts of the budget.
Premier Anna Bligh announced on Friday the group that oversaw the flood crisis in previous weeks had met for the last time but would be recalled should more monsoonal rain hit.
She said there was a possibility of a cyclone developing in the north after Australia Day.
“Whether or not that develops, we know that we are by no means out of our wet season and we’ll be continuing to get regular briefings from the weather bureau and monitoring carefully,” Ms Bligh told reporters in Brisbane.
“If we need to reactivate that state disaster management group, that’s what we’ll do.”
At the briefing, the premier outlined the human cost of the floods and the size of the rebuilding task ahead.
Twenty people have died since a wall of water ripped through Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley on January 2, and 33 have died in flood-related circumstances since November 30.
Ms Bligh said 489 people reported missing after flooding had been found safe. Nine people are still not accounted for.
Ms Bligh said thousands of people now found themselves temporarily homeless as the state struggled to count the financial costs of the disaster.
“As we go into the recovery phase we really need to count the damage and to count the cost of this incident and we’re not there yet,” Ms Bligh said.
Statewide, 5,400 homes had been flooded over their floorboards, 21,000 had been flooded under that level, 15,000 had water in their yards and 3,600 homes were evacuated of 5,900 people, she said.
Ninety-seven towns were impacted by serious flooding or were isolated and 90,000km of local roads were damaged.
The 2011 International Urban Design Conference will feature a stream on rebuilding flood effected communities in Australia. You can submit an abstract on the website.