Australia outlines huge cost of floods

2011-01-17 08:18

Floods that have hit large areas of Australia, destroying thousands of homes and businesses, are likely to be the most costly natural disaster in the nation’s history, Treasurer Wayne Swan said today.

Torrential rains which began in northeast Queensland state late last year have created huge flood zones, disrupting valuable coal exports, wiping out crops and washing away infrastructure such as roads and railways.

Swan refused to put a dollar figure on the cost of the floods, saying it was not yet possible to give an accurate assessment, but said the government would foot much of the bill.

“It looks like this is possibly going to be, in economic terms, the largest natural disaster in our history,” Swan told state broadcaster ABC.

“It will involve billions of dollars of Commonwealth money, and also state government money, and there’s going to be affects on local government as well.”

Swan said the rebuilding process, which began in earnest at the weekend with tens of thousands of volunteers turning out to clean up flooded homes in the Queensland capital Brisbane, would take years.

The centre-left Labour prime minister Julia Gillard has promised to return the budget to surplus by 2013 and Swan said the government, which has already doled out millions in emergency relief, was still committed to this.

“There’s no doubt that the costs involved in responding to this natural disaster are substantial,” he said.

“But we shouldn’t forget that we’ve also got a very strong economy, a strong investment pipeline, and strong public finances.

“So we do have underlying economic strength to deal with the challenges that are proposed by this natural disaster, but of course it will involve difficult decisions for us as we go forward.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.