Flood recovery to exceed $6 billion

Recovery from the NSW and Queensland floods is expected to cost more than $6 billion in support payments for families, industries, and communities, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says.

In his 2022/23 budget speech, Mr Frydenberg acknowledged the pain and loss suffered by those in northern NSW and southeast Queensland.

“We will stand with these communities and help them rebuild,” he said on Tuesday night.

More than one million disaster payments have been made, with support likely to total more than $6 billion.

“It will deliver hope, work and the prospect of returning to a better life,” Mr Frydenberg said.

The budget papers said flood-affected communities face a “long road to recovery”, as the full picture of physical damage and economic impact remains uncertain.

Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie said $1.29 billion has been spent to support individuals, while the budget funds more recovery and future risk mitigation projects.

Senator McKenzie said $150 million from the government’s Emergency Response Fund will be delivered to the severely damaged Northern Rivers region in NSW in 2022/23 for recovery and resilience.

That figure builds on the previously announced $75 million each for the NSW and Queensland governments in 2021/22, which can be spent on projects prioritised by the states in agreement with the federal government.

She said $10 million will be spent over four years from 2021/22 for mental health programs to help school-aged children in the Northern Rivers.

“We are listening to communities and providing funding for support where it is needed most,” Senator McKenzie said.

On top of the budget measures, the Commonwealth and the states have committed more than $2 billion for business, industry and individual recovery.

The budget also includes $116.4 million in extra funds for the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grant Program, which funds community projects that boost resilience and morale.

There is also $10 million set aside for the rapid delivery of disaster resources for affected communities.

 

Stephanie Gardiner
(Australian Associated Press)

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