Queensland flood damage bill to run into billions

19:08, January 12, 2011      

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Repairing and rebuilding Australian state of Queensland's flood-ravaged infrastructure would take at least two years and cost billions of dollars, Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) said Wednesday.

Roads, sewage systems and parks are among the assets destroyed as the state experiences the worst flooding in more than a century.

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) chief executive officer Greg Hallam said even with an organized approach, restoring the state's infrastructure would take a couple of years as some of it had been destroyed completely.

Local government in Queensland is responsible for 80 percent of the road network.

"It's going to be a massive job," Hallam said.

LGAQ estimated that between 70,000 km to 90,000 km of state roads have been damaged by floods.

Queensland's sewage system, another local government responsibility, has also been badly damaged.

While the floodwaters continue to rise, public parks, swimming pools and traffic lights are also a major concern for the LGAQ.

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser says he expects the flood damage bill to cost billions of dollars, while Reserve Bank board member Warwick McKibbin says a hit to the economy of one percent is "not out of the question".

Coal producers in the state have suffered an estimated 2 billion AU dollars (1.98 billion U.S. dollars) in lost production.

Resources giant New Hope Corp became the latest miner to suspend operations at its Queensland mines on Tuesday, joining some of the world's largest miners in shutting down production in the state.

The state's public transport authority Translink suspended bus services from 1 p.m. (local time) on Wednesday. CityCat and CityFerry services had already been canceled.

Trains have also been seriously disrupted, with only limited services operating as of midday.

Australia's rail operator QR National stopped rail services to coal mines west of Brisbane because of flooding.

Flood damage to rail lines and the public transport system is not yet known.

Source: Xinhua

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