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Look after locals for recovery

Major General Mick Slater.
Major General Mick Slater.

BUY local – it’s the best way to help recovering communities.

If you are a disaster-impacted council, a resident, or an insurance firm, our ask is that wherever possible you engage local builders in any reconstruction works.

This ultimately will be up to individuals, councils and insurance companies as it cannot be legislated, but it is vitally important.

We legally can’t enforce such an ask, but when you come to reinsure, keep in the back of your mind those insurers who have used local builders. Those firms that have done so would be top-of-mind for me.

Insurance companies letting contracts will in the short-term probably be looking at what best suits their bottom lines, but in the longer term they well could pay the price.

We all know people do vote with their feet.

The State Government itself has a series of Main Roads contractor workshops happening across the state.

The government is looking for anyone who has experience in the heavy construction work of building roads.

Potentially 12,500 jobs are on offer for an estimated $2.5 billion road damages bill.

Meetings have already been held in Cairns, Mackay and Rockhampton, with another in Toowoomba next Monday.

Further Civil Contractors Federation evenings are planned for Cairns again on April 20, Townsville May 25 and Mackay May 26.

Last week – within days of receiving council information – the authority approved $314 million of immediate advance payments into disaster impacted communities.

This is part of our locally-driven Operation QUEENSLANDER program of getting money for local councils to get them moving and to get money circulating locally as quickly as possible.

It means councils can get cracking before the end of the financial year.

Another example of the authority moving quickly was what we have done in Grantham.

Last Thursday the Premier announced Grantham as the first designated reconstruction area under new powers.

The move accelerates voluntary relocation and voluntary land swaps in the area.

This would normally have taken more than a year – but by using our special powers the authority, in support of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, has turned it around in weeks.

We have had people on the ground listening carefully to the community and getting an understanding for what the community wanted and what could be done. Given we keep moving on this, we are confident residents will be in their new homes by Christmas.


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