TASMANIA’S worst flooding in almost a century has cost three lives and more than $100 million in damage bills, with the physical recovery effort to take years.
The Government established a flood recovery committee, headed by Police Commander Peter Edwards, which has already started work.
It’s job will be long and difficult, with mental and physical scars running deep.
Financially, the effort to rebuild will also be significant.
In the immediate aftermath more than 230 emergency assistance grants worth $76,000 had been provided to families, business and farmers affected when eight rivers flooded.
Insurance companies received millions of dollars in claims, with confirmation around 270 properties were impacted by the floods.
The faming industry was significantly impacted with hundreds of livestock swept away and drowned, fencing and paddocks destroyed and machinery and equipment badly damaged – but has been offered assistance.
Following an agreement between the Tasmanian and Federal Governments, $10 million is now available through the Drought Recovery Concessional Loans and the Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans.
Both schemes allow eligible farmers to borrow up to 50 per cent of eligible farm business debt, up to $1 million, over a maximum of 10 years, and will be administered by Tasmania Development and Resources
In the State’s North and North-West, 35 bridges – including three railway bridges – were damaged and up to 50 roads needed repair.
TasRail was severely impacted, and was forced to close many of its busiest rail lines
Landslips caused the Melba Line on the West Coast to be closed for weeks while the Kimberley Rail Bridge, near Sheffield, was not expected to be back in action until mid-July.
The Port of Devonport had to be closed given the structural hazards floating out to sea, following the loss of the Mersey Yacht Club marina.
Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding praised the handling of the situation by TT-Line.
When the Devonport Port reopened, the Spirit of Tasmania ships undertook double sailings in both directions to ensuring that 3500 passengers and vehicles could be carried in one weekend.
“This is an enormous effort in very challenging circumstances, and I congratulate the leadership and employees of TT-Line, including the shore staff in Terminal Services and the Customer Contact Centre, for their success in moving passengers to different sailings and ensuring accurate information was communicated effectively,” he said.
Mr Hidding also said that the Link Span at Station Pier in Mebourne, which was damaged by a freak wind event in January had finally been repaired and was operational to optimise freight capacity and loading times.
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