19 Jan 2011

Homes won't be rebuilt in flood-prone areas - premier

10:00 pm on 19 January 2011

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says homes in her state will not be rebuilt in areas that could flood again.

Ms Bligh made the annoucement after the funerals the first of 20 flood victims were held on Wednesday.

Mourners farewelled a mother and her son killed in flash flooding in Toowomba last week. Donna-Marie Rice, 43, and Jordan Rice, 13, managed to get on the roof of their car, but were swept away.

The ABC reports parliament will establish a reconstruction authority with strong planning powers.

Ms Bligh says it will talk to communities about building homes on stilts, or in new areas altogether.

"We owe it to those families and their children to make the right decisions. The last thing we want to do is rebuild in the same place and to see that home flooded again in two or three years' time."

Major General Mick Slater will chair the new authority, which will be top of the agenda when parliament resumes in February.

The federal government has now paid more than $A136 million in flood assistance to people in Queensland. Payments have been made to just over 109,000 people.

More flood fears for Brisbane

The Brisbane City Council says bad weather, combined with a king tide this weekend, could cause flooding in areas that were not affected by last week's Brisbane River peak.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman says the boardwalk at the city's cultural centre could be flooded again.

Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms in south-east Queensland caused more damage on Tuesday night.

The ABC reports a line of storms from the south-west brought down powerlines, damaged roofs and sent trees crashing into homes and cars from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast.

Wind gusts of up to 100km/h were recorded near Ipswich and there was hail in the Lockyer Valley and on Brisbane's north side. Thousands of people remain without power in the state.

Volunteers are being asked to keep up their hard work to help Brisbane rebuild.

The ABC reports the recovery effort is focusing on several suburbs in the south-west of the city, including Rocklea, Chelmer, Graceville, Sherwood, St Lucia and Jindalee.

The city council is asking volunteers to go directly to the areas of concern to help.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman is also appealing to tradespeople to offer their services for free.

Shake-up in property market

People trying to sell homes in low-lying areas of Brisbane are expected to find it tough in the short term, the ABC reports.

But property analysts say the Queensland floods are not expected to have a major impact on Brisbane's real estate prices over the longer term.

RP Data says buyers already know the risks of living in a waterfront location, so those properties overlooking the Brisbane River are unlikely to experience too much price movement in the near term.

However, houses further away from the river in low lying areas could lose as much as 10% of their value over the next five years.

According to RP Data, the median house price in Brisbane is $A432,900, which dipped 0.7% over the course of 2010.

It expects that the floods will keep sellers on the sidelines as the clean-up becomes the focus.

Mines affected

Rio Tinto says production at its four coal mines in central Queensland is still affected by heavy rain and flooding.

The company announced late last year that it could not meet supply agreements because of weather conditions.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Rio Tinto said the mines were operational but production is still constrained. It says it is too early to say what the full impact of the flooding will be.