As the peak danger from recent catastrophic bushfires eases, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has reassured Queenslanders that planning for recovery is well underway.
The Premier said that while the situation was still hazardous and unpredictable in many areas, Queenslanders impacted by the fires could be confident that state and local governments had been working towards the long-term recovery of communities.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, with assistance from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, had completed 453 damage assessments in response to the bushfires as of midday today (5 December).
With work ongoing, 15 dwellings have so far been reported damaged from this event – 12 of them severely.
More than 60 sheds or other structures are also damaged, and more than 20 properties have damaged vehicles and machinery.
These numbers are expected to rise.
“More than a million hectares have been burnt across Queensland in this fortnight of fires, with catastrophic consequences for communities, primary producers, agriculture and the environment,” the Premier said.
“Although Queensland has not experienced a bushfire of this magnitude before, we are very experienced at recovering from natural disasters such as cyclones and flooding. We have a coordinated plan of action in place to recover, rebuild and reconnect our communities after the fires.
“Our state has Australia’s only standalone agency responsible for coordinating disaster recovery and resilience – the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. They are on the ground, working with councils and helping Queensland Fire and Emergency Services with damage assessments.”
Acting Minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Stirling Hinchliffe, said locally-led recovery plans supported by all levels of government delivered the best results for communities.
“Local recovery groups are in place and working with state agencies to ensure the support communities need is made available,” Mr Hinchliffe said
“Recovery will focus on people’s health and emotional wellbeing as much as rebuilding infrastructure, local economies and the environment.”
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford said residents across thousands of kilometres of Queensland were returning to a very different landscape.
“The weeks and months ahead will present many challenges,” Mr Crawford said.
“But we are here for the long haul and will do everything we can to support local communities in their recovery.”