The State Economic Recovery Group has been activated in the wake of the North Queensland flood disaster, meeting for the first time today to determine the economic impacts of the monsoon trough and measures to support economic recovery in impacted communities.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the Economic Recovery Group advises the Queensland Government on the economic impacts of current disaster events and helps facilitate business, industry and regional economic recovery and renewal.
“Communities, business and industry have all been affected by significant and, in some cases, record rainfall and flooding as a result of this slow-moving monsoon trough across North and Far North Queensland,” he said.
“We all know how resilient Queenslanders are in the face of adversity, but this natural disaster is on an unprecedented scale and our government stands ready to assist in recovery.
“Our first and primary focus is to manage the immediate impacts of the event, but we want to be at the ready to address the economic impacts as soon as is appropriate for each area and we need to start work to do so now.”
Mr Dick said the State Economic Recovery Group includes representatives from relevant peak bodies and industry groups, affected local councils, Commonwealth and State representatives from economic agencies. The group is chaired by the Director-General of the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning.
“It is vital that we support the economies of regional communities like those in the Townsville, North West Queensland and Cape York areas to get moving again after events like this to give them the best chance of a strong recovery, and we must all work together to achieve this,” he said.
“The State Economic Recovery Group has an important role to play in assessing the impacts of this extreme flooding event on the economic viability of affected communities, on key economic assets and on the capacity of local businesses to operate.
“The group also supports development of strategies to minimise the effects of an event like this on both individuals and businesses, and provides input into industry and business recovery plans and implementation strategies.”
Among other responsibilities, the State Economic Recovery Group also:
- provides information on the needs of business, industry and local government in responding to the events and getting the economy back into full production
- works to ensure Queensland’s planning, legislation and processes enable recovery operations, such as enabling councils to undertake urgent works to restore community infrastructure without facing development offences through planning legislation
- facilitates linkages with job providers and employment agencies to source labour and re-establish supply chains
- develops strategy to maximise use of local resources during clean-up and restoration activities
“While the full impact of this event will take some to assess, it is clear the effect on Townsville and its surrounding communities has been particularly severe,” Mr Dick said.
“The statewide impact has also been significant. Economic recovery will take time and require a dedicated coordinated effort.”
Mr Dick said 20 local government areas have been activated for disaster assistance, with one additional council requesting activation of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
To date, small businesses in Townsville have been activated for concessional loan assistance.
“My department is well experienced in working with economic recovery in the face of both natural disasters and corporate shutdowns,” he said.
“The group will help ensure local enterprise and industry – the economic drivers of local communities – get back on track as soon as possible.”