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Qld invests $741m to help rebuild flood-impacted homes

The state’s government has revealed the launch of its Resilient Homes Fund, devoted to rebuilding homes damaged from the floods.

Under the program, Queenslanders whose homes were impacted by the floods will be able to apply for funds to “raise, repair, retrofit or have their home voluntarily bought back”. 

The Queensland government has confirmed this eligibility ranges from those seeking to replace floor coverings with water-resistant finishes, those seeking to raise their homes above the defined flood level, or those seeking to sell their homes back to the government. 

Further, those eligible for the scheme will be residents of the 37 local government areas activated for Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) by the state’s three major floods over 2021 and 2022, including Ex-Tropical Cyclone Seth and the current floods across South-East Queensland. 

The Department of Energy and Public Works will be leading the delivery of the retrofitting and house-raising component of the program, while the Queensland Reconstruction Authority will manage any voluntary buy-backs together with local governments.

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Half of the funding for the initiative will be provided by the Queensland government, and over half from the Australian government.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that the fund is the “largest home resilience program of its kind to ever be delivered in Australia”. 

She added that while the state can’t prevent floods from occurring, this fund will allow for steps to reduce their impact. 

“Queenslanders whose homes were damaged by floods will be able to access grants to rebuild more resilient homes, raise homes or buy back homes at high risk,” Ms Palaszczuk said. 

Deputy Premier Steven Miles added that this initiative isn’t focused on solely rebuilding, but “building back better”. 

“We know from initial assessments following the South East Queensland floods that there were nearly 7,000 homes with some degree of damage and more than 3,600 of these were uninhabitable, Mr Miles said.

“That’s why we fought so hard to ensure we could provide as much support to as many flood-affected Queenslanders as possible.”

Minister for Public Works, Mick de Brenni, said that this “building back better” meant incorporating resilient building design and materials to significantly reduce the effort, cost and time. 

“The damage to homes from the rain-bomb event has been widespread and whilst homeowners have experienced different types of damage, every home can be rebuilt to be far less vulnerable to future flood events,” Mr de Brenni said.

Mr de Brenni later added that the Queensland government will work with councils, industry and insurers to ensure the right assistance is provided to affected home owners. 

“We’re now asking flood-affected Queenslanders within the eligible local government areas who are interested in a voluntary buy-back, house raising or retrofitting for resilience following the floods, to come forward, register their details and that will trigger the start of the process,” Mr de Brenni said.

The Queensland government’s latest announcement comes in the wake of the $771 million flood relief package it announced in March, which included $350 million set aside to buy back 500 homes.

Speaking with The Adviser at the time of this impact on brokers, Meena Bebawy, a Queensland broker with Yellow Brick Road, said that while clawbacks could occur, they would also be a “necessary evil”

“I think helping clients with their next stage is probably the more important focus,” Mr Bebawy explained.

[Related:Lenders warned coastal risk threatens $24.9bn in homes]

Qld invests $741m to help rebuild flood-impacted homes
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