Queensland Receives $100M Flood Relief From Federal Government
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | February 28, 2013 2:15 PM EST
The federal government of Australia has assured some $100 million in flood relief amount to Queensland to enable the state government rise from the series of floods that battered it this year beginning in January.
Of the amount, $10 million will go to Ipswich, west of Brisbane and $7 million to Roma in southern Queensland to help raise the level of its flood levee around Roma in southern Queensland. About $50 million, spread over two years, will be spent to raise the level of Sydney's Warragamba Dam, which is estimated to cost around $500 million.
More than 50,000 homes in western Sydney are estimated to benefit from its completed construction.
However, "no dam can ever be made 100 per cent flood-proof," John Kaye, NSW Greens MP, said in a statement on Thursday, pointing out that the dam's elevation remain just a "band-aid solution."
"This is a new set of measures to assist with disaster resilience and insurance affordability,'' Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters in Ipswich on Thursday morning.
The release of the funds, however, comes with a string attached.
"This Government is moving on mitigation with the promise from the insurance industry that when governments at all levels fund mitigation, we expect insurance policies for householders to go down," Bill Shorten, Financial Services Minister, told reporters in Ipswich.
"The insurance industry had indicated that in a place such as Roma ... home and content policies should and could go down by as much as 70 per cent."
In January, insurer Suncorp said that flood premiums in Roma town, flood-prone for three years now, would more than halve if state and federal government worked together to build a flood levee.
"If a professionally-designed levee was constructed in Roma, Suncorp would not only be able to recommence insuring new customers, but average premiums in the area would more than halve," Suncorp had earlier said in a study, noting if the project pushes through to completion, residents in high-risk properties would see "premium reductions of up to 70 per cent."
"We are trying to get away from that cycle of flooding and then insurance premiums skyrocketing and people being priced out of the market," Ms Gillard said.
The remainder of the $100 million package will be made available for other flood mitigation projects but by local communities.
The recent floods in Queensland and NSW triggered by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald had resulted to insurance losses of more than $661 million, according to the Insurance Council of Australia.
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