Floods cost Rocky $80m

THE economic impact from the closure of Rockhampton's transport corridors during January's floods is more than $80m, a new study reveals.

Capricorn Enterprise and the CQUniversity Centre for Environmental Management will today release their joint study, Assessing the regional economic impacts of flood interruption to transport corridors in Rockhampton, August 2011.

The Bulletin can exclusively reveal the study will show the impact of the Rockhampton closures cost the city economy about $35m, and the wider Queensland economy a further $45.7m, for a total of $80.7m.

At the height of the floods Rockhampton was cut off for about two weeks with the closure of the city's airport and the Bruce Hwy, which cut the State in half.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said the study revealed extraordinary losses of millions of dollars a day not just to the local economy but to the State and nation.

“The cost to flood-proof the 5km of national highway entering Rockhampton from the south is estimated at $500,000,” she said.

“This is a small price for governments to pay when you consider the monumental losses to our State's economy, not to mention the job losses and lack of recovery of some small businesses.”

CQUniversity Professor in regional economic development John Rolfe, who undertook the study, said it revealed:

A daily loss of $730,000 a day due to the airport's closure;

$5.41m a day from the road closures to Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast; and

A downturn of business in Rockhampton of 18.6% equalling $35m.

The study assessed the direct economic impacts, including lost coal production, lost agricultural production, damaged infrastructure and the emergency response and avoidance costs as well as indirect costs stemming from the closure of the transport corridors at Rockhampton, largely isolating the city from supplies and separating north Queensland from southern Queensland.



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