The property industry has an important role to play in the re-building of Queensland after the state’s devastating floods in term of restoring investor confidence and creating more resilient communities, it is claimed.
According to the Property Council of Australia governments at all levels are appropriately still intensely focused on the immediate clean up after the disaster, however in the coming days and weeks a plan for a speedy economic recovery needs to be put in place.
It has drawn together a Floods Recovery Committee of leading property industry experts to advise on the immediate priorities for rebuilding Queensland and has already identified a series of actions in the short and medium to long term to expedite the recovery.
‘In the short term we need to focus on getting people back into their homes and businesses as quickly as possible to send a clear message that Queensland is open for business. Local, State and Federal governments clearly have a strong role to play in achieving this,’ said Property Council of Australia Queensland executive director Kathy Mac Dermott.
‘Governments have already made grants and subsidies available to flood victims. This is a fantastic start, but may need to be extended to get Queensland back up and running at full steam as quickly as possible. Options like a home rebuilding grant, similar to the first home buyers grant, for homes that need to be demolished and rebuilt is one possible option,’ she explained.
‘Similarly tax incentives that were put in place to encourage businesses to purchase durable assets during the GFC could be replicated to assist Queensland businesses get back on their feet. Potentially this could also be extended to homeowners for the purchase of durable goods. Councils can play a leading role by expediting development assessments for flood affected properties that need to be rebuilt,’ she added.
She also pointed out that postponing investment in the critical infrastructure needed across Queensland because of the need to invest in rebuilding flood damaged infrastructure would be counter productive.
‘We need to rebuild communities and invest in the engineering solutions that will assist mitigate future disasters whilst at the same time building the other critical economic and social infrastructure needed across the state. We urgently call on local, state and Federal Governments not to postpone current infrastructure projects which are already critically needed. These programmes need to run concurrent with the floods recovery process if we are to kick start the economy and restore investor confidence in Queensland,’ she said.
She added that one of the lessons learnt from the 1974 floods was the importance of investing in critical infrastructure, demonstrated by the construction of the Wivenhoe Dam and a number of other major projects in the following decade.
She also urged authorities to avoid the temptation to prematurely jump to conclusions in relation to the future of flood-affected properties, or give weight to uninformed statements in relation to the appropriateness of developments that were affected.
‘To ensure Queensland can get back to business as quickly as possible it is critical that governments at all levels continue to plan for our growing population and approve appropriate developments,’ she added.