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‘Summer of floods and fires’ to cost Queensland in excess of $1.5billion

19th February 2019
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The effects of natural disasters cost people money as well as lives

A ustralia faces a $1.5billion bill following the so-called 'Queensland summer of floods and fires", it was reported this week.

It comes just two years after the Queensland budget took a $1.5billion hit from Cyclone Debbie - the strongest tropical cyclone in the Australian region since Quang in 2015, and branded as the most dangerous cyclone to impact Queensland since Yasi in 2011.

The country's premier, Annstacia Palszczuk, said early estimates of the "summer of disasters" is $1.5billion but admitted that the figure could increase. The state's rail and road network were destroyed in parts, while 1,200 homes were left uninhabitable.

Speaking this week, the premier said: "Dealing with increasing natural disasters will carry heavy burdens, emotional as well as financial." She added, "Those assessments will feed into our budget and we believe that we will be able to financially manage that impact."

S peaking at the Queensland Media Club on Tuesday, the Brisbane Times reports that she listed the numerous natural disasters that have plagued the state in recent memory. These include monsoonal rain, cyclones, droughts and fires. She said natural disasters in the region were increasing - pointing to the effects of climate change. "Flood, storms, droughts and bushfires are all increasing," she said.

The premier also attacked the federal coalition government's climate policies and accused the federal government of "energy paralysis", which she said was impacting the state's transport and agricultural sectors.

"In Canberra, we have had policy paralysis for years," she said.

"Ideology has unseated science, evidence and facts are simply ignored." She continued: "I accept the science of climate change and so does everyone in my government. Those who do not accept the science of climate change are saying they will do nothing to protect the jobs in our tourism industry or our agricultural industry."

Australia's deputy premier, Jackie Trad, said the funds could be found by the state but reportedly failed to answer whether Queenland would have to borrow more money to fund the work. "How disaster reconstruction funding works is, the state has to foot the bill in the first instance for the rebuild, the rail, the roads, significant amounts of clean up and then we get reimbursed after the work is assured by the federal government," she said.

But LNP leader Deb Frecklington called on the government to rule out raising or introducing any new taxes. "We believe the climate is changing but this shouldn't be used as an excuse to do nothing," she said. "It means the government must prepare properly, including financially, for natural disasters."