Strong winds hit the coastal town of Yeppoon in north Queensland.
Strong winds hit the coastal town of Yeppoon in north Queensland. SHELLY ALLSOP

Damage bill for Cyclone Marcia reaches $750 million

CYCLONE Marcia caused almost a billion dollars worth of damage when it raged through Queensland last month.

That is according to the latest figures from the State Government, with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad announcing on Monday that the total damage cost which Marcia and associated rainfall caused Queensland was about $750 million, including public infrastructure.

It was inevitable Queenslanders would continue to bear the brunt of natural disasters and this is why Ms Trad said the Queensland Reconstruction Authority would be permanent from now on.

The QRA was established as a "central agency" to coordinate and respond to natural disasters and the recovery efforts following a spate of natural disasters in the 2010-11 summer.

The authority was due to be wound-up on June 30 this year but Ms Trad said it was still helping with recovery and reconstruction from 14 natural disasters.

"It is an unfortunate feature of Queensland that we have suffered and we will continue to suffer from natural disasters," Ms Trad said.

It is hoped making the QRA a permanent part of the Queensland Government will be one of the first parts of legislation put to parliament, which sits for the first time this year on Tuesday, later this week.

Ms Trad said the authority's permanency would cost about $30 million every year.

She said, while Cyclone Marcia had left, the impacts would remain for years.

"We do know now that the power is back on and people are starting to get back on with their lives, a lot of the mental health impacts of suffering from a natural disaster, of having your life torn apart, set in," she said.

"This is where assistance through counselling and support services provided by the State Government become essential.

"That's been rolled out now as we speak and we do know it takes some two years to recover and fully (complete) all of the reconstruction efforts after a natural disaster."

Ms Trad said some of the infrastructure Cyclone Marcia damaged was "quite substantial" and could take years to rebuild.

She said assistance also would help areas that were splashed with intense rainfall and flooding including Banana, North Burnett, Gympie and Sunshine Coast.

Ms Trad said a review of the QRA would be conducted and recommendations would be made to help make it a permanent body.

The State Government also announced on Monday its Recovery Plan to help guide the management of reconstruction.

- APN NEWSDESK



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