More funding has been made available for 39 Queensland communities as a part of a long-term plan to improve infrastructure impacted by monsoon flooding in early 2019.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the North and Far North Queensland Monsoon Trough State Recovery Plan 2019-2021 underpinned the Government’s commitment to helping communities recover, rebuild and reconnect from the weather event that devastated residents, farmers and industry.

“The sheer scale of the deluge that impacted our state from Townsville, north to the Torres Strait and west to Mount Isa was unprecedented, with communities across more than 50 per cent of the state under water,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“State Recovery Coordinator Major General, Stuart Smith, and his Townville-based Deputy, Mark Plath, worked with councils across the huge impact area to ensure their priorities were heard and that they had the confidence they needed to keep their recovery on track.

“The Monsoon Trough State Recovery Plan features Local Recovery Plans for 13 council impacted councils impacted most and outlines the state’s clear vision for recovery over the months and years ahead.”

Ms Palaszczuk said more than $245 million in disaster funding had already been rolled out across the 39 impacted communities.

“This includes more than $91 million paid to primary producers, small businesses and not for profits, $33 million paid in personal hardship assistance and more than $116 million paid to local governments and agencies to support the reconstruction of essential public infrastructure and other recovery programs,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Additionally, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority is working with other state agencies, local councils and non-government organisations to deliver the $242 million Extraordinary Assistance Package under Categories C and D of the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

“Another $17 million dollars of that money is now available for infrastructure betterment,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Federal Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, said the first Betterment, Recreational Assets and Water and Sewerage Infrastructure projects had been approved.

“This lets us repair essential roads and infrastructure and upgrade them so they withstand future floods,” Mr Littleproud said.

“Close to $14 million in projects to improve two sections of the Flinders Highway that were severely damaged during the monsoon trough now have the go-ahead.”

Townsville City Council will receive more than $1.8 million to repair several water and sewerage assets that were permanently damaged by the high velocity flood waters.

Townsville Council will also receive more than $1.5 million to upgrade recreational assets, including more than $774,700 for three new pontoons.

Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick, said the pontoons in Kelso, Rasmussen and Aitkenvale were destroyed during the monsoon trough earlier this year.

“These assets are vital to their local communities and I know their restoration will be welcomed by all those who use them,” Mr Dick said.

“More than $680,000 for recreational tracks on Magnetic Island has also been given the tick of approval as part of this funding.

This funding will allow key sections of recreational tracks damaged earlier this year to be repaired, reconnecting access networks severely impacted by high levels of water flow during the monsoon trough.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Far North Queensland as communities continue to repair, recover and build their resilience to future natural disaster events,” Mr Dick said.

Betterment, Recreational Assets and Water and Sewerage Infrastructure submissions are part of the $242 million Category C/D Recovery Package jointly funded by Commonwealth and Queensland Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Approval and delivery of these projects will be rolled out until June 2021.

Mr Dick said QRA was coordinating overall recovery of the regions impacted and providing expert engineering, technical and submissions advice to councils, as well as recovery support on the ground.

Other six month recovery projects include:

  • Emergency works to reopen 6420km of state roads completed
  • Flinders Highway reopened less than two weeks after flood waters subsided
  • Alice River Bridge near Townsville reopened two months ahead of schedule
  • Mt Isa rail line reopened within 12 weeks of the disaster
  • Reconstruction work has started on 89 percent of the 1471 properties identified as uninhabitable at the six month mark. Nine month assessments will occur in October

QRA has completed more than 85 in-field assessments with 20 local government areas and one state agency for disaster funding submissions.