Monsoon disaster bill rises above $2B
LOSSES from the monster monsoon which devastated North Queensland earlier this year has been estimated at more than $2 billion.
City economist and recovery task force co-ordinator David Lynch provided the preliminary figure - assessed by State agencies - during a presentation to Townsville councillors this week, underscoring the massive impact from the event in late January and early February.
He also urged governments to extend the period of access to disaster funding which so far showed $14.3 million in grants had been approved to 775 small businesses, primary producers and not for profit organisations in the Townsville council area.
Mr Lynch said the total estimated impact for losses of $2.08 billion across north and north west Queenslland was still an unofficial figure but that he would be surprised if it changed substantially.
"As far as the whole region, a significant portion of that was related to transport and public asset capital damage," Mr Lynch said.
"That's primarily the rail line in the North West ($723m) which obviously had some major destruction."
Business disruption ($386m) and residential housing damage ($312m) were the next highest losses, followed by agricultural output loss ($260m) and agricultural infrastructure damage ($68m).
Mining output loss was estimated at $170 million and tourism disruption at $122 million.
Mr Lynch said the small business recovery centre established and staffed mostly by State agencies had been very successful and would continue into the future.
So far it had undertaken more than 1400 appointments and received more than 1600 calls from impacted businesses.
Mr Lynch said there was still strong demand for disaster recovery grants, partly because insurance claims were still being assessed.
Governments were being asked to extend disaster funding, due to end on November 29, into early 2020.
Deputy Mayor Les Walker said there was no doubt the monsoonal event had a devastating economic impact on Townsville and the surrounding region but did not take account of the social impact.
"This social impact is as, if not more important, than the economic impact incurred," Cr Walker said.
Cr Verena Coombe, chair of the multi-agency Economic Recovery Group, said recovering from the event would take years and much longer than anybody would want.
"It will be a marathon, not a sprint. Impacted households and businesses are at varying stages of recovery," Cr Coombe said.
"We will need the on-going support of the State and Federal Governments to ensure that we leave no one behind."
commercial/industrial capital damage $48m
Residential housing capital damage $312m
Business disruption $386m
Mining output loss $170m
Agricultural output loss $260m
Agricultural infrastructure damage $68m
Transport and public asset damage $723m
Tourism disruption $122m
Total estimated impact $2089m