Queensland flood damage bill 'in the billions'

Locals sift through belongings at Eagleby in Queensland after floods hit the area in the wake of...
Locals sift through belongings at Eagleby in Queensland after floods hit the area in the wake of Cyclone Debbie. Photo Getty
Rockhampton airport will be closed for at least the rest of the week as the central Queensland city prepares for major flooding.

The final flight out of Rocky is scheduled for just after midday today (locla time), after which the airport will shut down.

Airport manager Scott Waters said crews would then shut down facilities and secure important infrastructure, with water expected to start running over the runway from mid-afternoon.

"We've been advised by the Bureau of Meteorology that we'll have a nine-metre flood," Mr Waters told AAP.

"Very similar to what we experienced in 2011, just a little bit below that mark."

The nine-metre forecast is lower than the earlier predicted top of 9.4 metres, but it's still at the major flood level.

The airport will remain shut down for the rest of the week, with repair crews scheduled to assess the runway and other major infrastructure over the weekend.

Unlike in previous flood events, Rockhampton won't be completely cut off, with the southern Yeppen crossing remaining open, and travellers being diverted to Gladstone airport for flights.

Meanwhile, Queensland is expected to be hit with a total damage bill in the billions after Cyclone Debbie and ensuing floods ravaged various parts of the state.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said today while it was still too early to pinpoint a specific figure, the destruction wrought on roads, bridges, crops and homes was huge.

Some 300 schools also need repairs after being battered by the severe weather, she said.

"In relation to the total cost ... we do expect it to be in the billions," Ms Palaszczuk said in Brisbane.

Referring to Rockhampton, the premier said  nine mtres was ''a significant event'', telling locals they weren't out of the woods yet.

"We do want to stress to the people of Rockhampton that you still do need to make your flood preparations," she said.

However, locals could breathe a sigh of relief that the Bruce Highway would not be cut, she added.

The extra SES crews will also be on hand to deal with swift-water rescues, and then rapid damage assessments after the flood has hit.

One of Rockhampton's biggest employers, Teys Australia, which operates the city's meatworks, has closed its plant in the face of the flood threat.

Teys hopes to resume processing at the plant on Friday, but warned the closure may go beyond then, depending on water levels.

"While cattle have been purchased to supply the plant for the week, the safety and wellbeing of staff is our priority. On that note we urge employees to follow the instructions of local authorities and do what is necessary to stay out of danger," the company said in a statement today.

Meanwhile, Queensland State Disaster Coordinator Steve Gollschewski said authorities were conducting "exhaustive" searches for three men still missing across the state.

It comes after the body of 77-year-old Nelson Raebel was found in floodwaters in Logan on Saturday.

Queensland recovery in numbers

- About 1600 without power in southeast
- About 21,000 without power in north
- 300 schools need repairs
- 588 residences deemed uninhabitable in central and north
- 76 residences deemed uninhabitable in the southeast, likely to go up by 250-300 in coming days

Add a Comment


Advertising Feature