Assistance from Govt will help those impacted by Cyclone Ita
NORTH Queensland communities impacted by Cyclone Ita will receive emergency assistance to restore essential public assets, help farmers to recover and support some of the worst affected workers.
Federal Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, and Queensland Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, Jack Dempsey, announced the extra assistance today.
Concessional loans and freight subsidies are now available for primary producers in Burdekin, Cairns, Cassowary Coast, Cook, Douglas, Hinchinbrook, Hope Vale, Lockhart River, Mackay, Mareeba, Palm Island, Tablelands, Townsville, Whitsunday, Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah.
Assistance will also be made available to help the local councils of Burdekin, Cassowary Coast, Hinchinbrook, Lockhart River, Mackay, Palm Island, Tablelands, Townsville, Whitsunday and Yarrabah recover.
"Local councils have done a great job preparing for Tropical Cyclone Ita but they still have a large task ahead of them cleaning up and restoring essential public assets and we want to help them with that," Mr Keenan said.
"This assistance will directly help the residents and communities of Far North Queensland as they respond following Tropical Cyclone Ita," Mr Dempsey said.
Damage bill from Cyclone Ita set to climb into the billions
THE rain has eased as Cyclone Ita makes its way back out to sea.
Tropical Cyclone Ita is expected to maintain a southeast track as it moves offshore away from the Queensland east coast this morning.
The system is expected to transition into an extra-tropical low pressure system later today.
It was estimated to be 195 kilometres northeast of Yeppoon and 230 kilometres north northeast of Gladstone, and moving east southeast at 23 kilometres per hour.
And while the threat is no longer the damage bill is set to climb.
North Queenslanders have compared the scale of Cyclone Ita to Cyclone Oswald, which had a $1 billion bill for insurance claims alone.
But insurance companies are saying that it's too early to tell how much damage there is.
Oswald had far more substantial flooding than Ita but insurance figures did not include infrastructure such as roads or damage to council services.
Banana plantations as well as sugarcane crops were the hardest hit in the cyclone.
It is believed that about 700km of cane country from the Burdekin north to Mossman has been damaged along with crops in the Mackay region.
Premier Campbell Newman will today continue inspecting the aftermath in Ingham.
The town has been cut off by floodwaters and motorists are stranded on the Bruce Highway.
"At this stage it's unclear as to the full extent of that flooding, but I do intend to go to Ingham to see firsthand what has gone on and to see what assistance we can provide," he said.
Floodwaters are receding in some parts of Ingham as well as Townsville and the Burdekin region.
Ergon Energy crews are winning the battle to restore electricity to people in North and Far North Queensland, but the war with Tropical Cyclone Ita continues to be fought on several fronts.
Energy and Water Supply Minister Mark McArdle said the majority of people who had their power cut by the cyclone are now reconnected, but there is still plenty of work to do.
"Ergon's crews have done a mighty job so far across a huge area of the state," Mr McArdle said.
"This morning there are fewer than 6,800 people without power, down from the 27,000 at lunchtime yesterday."
Mr McArdle said there are other significant areas requiring attention.
"Crews are busy in the Mackay, Whitsunday and Proserpine areas where 1,100 people are waiting to have the power returned," he said.