Apr 05, 2017

Machinery, admin army called in for cyclone recovery

Machinery, admin army called in for cyclone recovery Floodwaters in the Depot Hill area of Rockhampton today. Image courtesy of Neil Richardson Quantity Surveyor.

Administrative workers are in hot demand as central Queensland communities start rebuilding in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.

CBC Staff Selection director – Townsville Chris Cunsamy said that business had filled about 120 roles in the past two days for post-cyclone support work.

“We’re providing the Department of Communities and other government departments some relief workers for Cyclone Debbie,” Mr Cunsamy said.

“We’ve done it for Townsville, Mackay, Bowen, Proserpine and Cannonvale at the moment and the list is going on.

“What we’re sourcing at the moment is administrative staff who have some good customer service and some empathy to work with those people hit by the cyclone and going through some hardship.

“The great thing is we are utilising the local labour force, which is giving them employment and a sense of purpose as well.”

Call for clean-up equipment

iSeekplant general manager and co-founder Drew McPherson said the key types of equipment in demand in cyclone and flood-affected areas were pumps, generators and smaller earthmoving plant to clear up roads and private properties.

“What happened in the last round of floods was that we initially see a spike in small emergency plant followed by a year or so of major roadworks projects,” he said.

“We’ve definitely seen a spike in pumps and generators (hire) and there are some pretty urgent inquiries going through at the moment for smaller dozers – it must be to clear trees and land slips and the like from roads.

“Typically in the early stages of these events we see an increase in requirement for smaller plant and equipment like bobcats, backhoes, diggers, tippers – which is I guess all about tidying up.”

Many requests were from councils, he said.

In contrast, demand for large earthmoving equipment had slumped as the wet conditions brought many major roadworks and earthworks projects to a halt, he said.

Flooded Fitzroy River still rising

He was commenting as the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton continued its rise towards an expected flood peak of 9m, which the Bureau of Meteorology predicts will occur on Thursday morning.

Rockhampton Local Disaster Management Group chair Cr Tony Williams said the level is predicted to fall below the major flood level of 8.5m by Saturday morning.

Central Queensland-based Senator Matt Canavan said the new Yeppen Floodplain Bridge had completely changed the dynamic of the Fitzroy River flood impact.

“For the first time in recent history, we will continue to have access to the rest of Queensland throughout a major flood,” he said on Facebook tonight.

“That means food and fuel will continue to come through, and tourists can keep coming to our region. We need people to know that for the most part in central Queensland, it’s business as usual.”

Help for business

Further north, State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham visited businesses and recovery centres in Mackay today to see the impacts first-hand and find out what people needed to get back on their feet and their businesses back on track.

“Staff from my Department of State Development are in the impacted areas and working with local businesses to gain a clearer picture of the damage they’ve suffered and determine what help they need,” he said.

 “Across the state we are taking action at two levels – prioritising what’s required locally, but also using the data to ensure the joint Commonwealth-State disaster arrangements maximise assistance for business and industry.

“My department also heads the Economic Recovery Group with representatives from key government agencies, peak business and industry groups to assess and best target our response.”

The group includes representatives of various government departments; Local Government Association of Queensland; North Queensland mayors; AgForce; Queensland Farmers Federation; Queensland Resources Council; Insurance Council of Australia; Australian Bankers Association; Australian Industry Group; Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland, Queensland Tourism Industry Council; North Queensland Bulk Ports; National Retail Association; Telstra and Queensland Sugar Limited.

Local business operators seeking advice about assistance that’s available or information about getting their business back up and running should contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349. 

Insurance claims pass $385m

The Insurance Council of Australia said insurers had received 30,370 claims stretching from north Queensland to northern New South Wales by this morning.

“Estimated insured losses have reached $386 million and are expected to rise further over coming weeks,” ICA general manager of communications and media relations Campbell Fuller said.

About three-quarters of all claims so far had been lodged by Queensland policyholders, he said.

Mr Fuller said insurers had deployed hundreds of staff to affected areas and repair work was already under way in many cases.

“Once claims have been assessed and approved, insurers and policyholders must negotiate a scope of works before work can commence,” he said.

“In the aftermath of disasters, insurers’ first priority is to their policyholders, and making sure repairs and rebuilding work are done to the highest standard in the shortest possible time.

“For this reason, many insurers have strategic arrangements with building companies, suppliers and project managers to undertake repairs and building works.

“These companies often sub-contract work to local qualified tradespeople if they are reputable, price-competitive and have capacity.”

Trades register for repair work

The ICA has created registries of interested trades in Queensland and NSW for insurance companies to access.

In Queensland, trades looking for work should register with the Queensland Building Commission at www.qbcc.qld.gov.au.

“The ICA urges qualified builders and trades who want to assist with the enormous reconstruction effort to register promptly and let insurers know,” Mr Fuller said.

The Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) has deployed staff to impacted areas to assist councils with their reconstruction planning and processes, provide Natural Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) policy advice and to assist Queensland Fire and Emergency Services with rapid damage assessments.

The QRA is also assisting State Disaster Recovery Coordinator Brigadier Christopher Field and local recovery groups with the recovery planning in response Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

For a list of NDRRA activations for the Tropical Cyclone Debbie event visit the NDRRA Activations page.

The Cherwell Creek Bridge in the Isaac region last week.

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