Mar 09, 2018

Floodwaters leave hefty clean-up task

Floodwaters leave hefty clean-up task Punchbowl Bridge, 40km north of Julia Creek, on March 9. This is one of a series of photos showing how the water has risen since February 26. See more below.

As floodwaters rise in parts of north and far north Queensland, out in the rain-drenched north-west they are starting to turn their focus to the clean-up to come.

Many of the roads in McKinlay Shire remained unpassable at the end of this week, but even the earliest estimates put reconstruction costs in the millions.

“We’ve basically got access to about 1/10 of our road network at the moment and already (assessments show) a substantial amount of damage – about $3 million,” chief executive officer Peter Fitchat said.

The area had been inundated since the arrival of a low pressure system on March 1, he said.

The wet was good news for many primary producers in the region, but there were still some who had missed the benefits, Mr Fitchat said.

“There are still properties that have missed out, but they have to deal with the runoff from neighbouring properties – debris bringing fences down, roads inundated and damaged,” he said.

The district disaster management group swung into action during the week as McKinlay, Julia Creek and Kynuna were isolated.

“The roads are open now to the west, but east to Townsville is still closed,” Mr Fitchat said.

“We have been co-ordinating the chopper to get emergency supplies out and making regular road inspections.”

The first clean-up task as waters recede will be emergent works to open the roads, such as putting a grader through to clear debris.

Then comes the business of assessment and evidence gathering to support a claim for Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements funding to restore the damaged infrastructure.

Reconstruction works will be contracted out and Mr Fitchat said McKinlay Shire was well-positioned with about a dozen plant hire companies operating locally.

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