Two years after devastating floods crippled the Queensland economy, home and business owners have yet again been forced to watch their livelihoods be destroyed as the state suffers through some of its worst weather in years.
Experts warn the state’s economy will take a hit as businesses across the state are affected, with some warning the hospitality and tourism sectors could take even longer to recover. Travel is still being affected at major airports.
The floods have already killed four people, including a child, as the city of Bundaberg faces the full force of rising floodwaters. Overnight more than 2,000 people were evacuated with hundreds more expected to leave today.
While the economic impact of the floods are expected to be less severe than in 2011, the damage will be felt across the state for some time.
Tracey Smith, head of the Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told SmartCompany the floods have come just as many businesses were getting back on their feet.
“It’s going to be terrible,” she said. “It’s devastating. For some people it’ll just be the end of their businesses.”
Smith’s own office has been ravaged by the floods, she said. More are expected to be destroyed as floodwaters continue to rise.
“From a business perspective, once we start hearing word about packages or assistance we’ll be helping people get in contact with those, and distributing them to help out as much as possible.”
“But the biggest thing at the minute is the fact people are getting inundated. We’re just trying to find ways to help people.”
“Many aren’t even looking forward to how they can survive yet. That’ll come at the end of the week once the immediate danger goes away.”
The travel industry has been dealt a blow, with some flights grounded in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Customers have been told to check updates on the Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin sites. Several flights have been cancelled across major cities.
The economic impact of the floods will be known as more insurance claims start being filed, but already the Insurance Council of Australia has said it has received thousands of claims.
So far Brisbane has remained unaffected, with the Bureau of Meteorology downgrading an expected flood peak for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. However, Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has said the peak is expected to be two metres below 2011 levels, and the central business district will remain open.
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