QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh last Wednesday announced the establishment of a new Queensland Reconstruction Authority to manage and coordinate the statewide rebuilding program in the aftermath of the floods.
Ms Bligh said the statutory Authority, which will be established through an act of Parliament, will manage the task of rebuilding and repairing infrastructure in over 60 flood-affected communities and implementing a statewide plan for rebuilding.
"These floods have been catastrophic and we have a post-war scale building task ahead of us. We need a dedicated body to prioritise that," Ms Bligh said.
"Its role will be to work closely with local governments and communities to ensure the unique characteristics of each community are factored into the rebuilding process.
"The Reconstruction Authority will be charged with working with local governments to determine, in some cases, whether we should be rebuilding exactly the same thing in exactly the same place, whether it's a bridge, or whether it's a suburb," Ms Bligh said.
The Authority will be chaired by Major General Mick Slater, with Coordinator-General Graeme Newton appointed CEO of the Authority.
Ms Bligh said the Authority will be provided, through legislation, with all necessary powers to implement all recommendations of the Board.
The Local Government Association of Queensland said lessons from the floods of 2010 and 2011 should never be forgotten. Chief Executive Greg Hallam said Premier Anna Bligh should be commended for taking decisive action in establishing the Authority.
"The reconstruction authority should have all the powers it needs, including the power to compulsorily acquire flood prone properties, if Queenslanders are to receive maximum protection from future disasters,'' he said.
Mr Hallam said the Authority will need to work with councils throughout the state to "cut through the legislative red tape and ensure the interests of flood-hit communities as they get on with the job of recovering from this disaster."
Fairfax reported that while Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said he was comfortable with the idea of the Authority, he wanted to make sure that it would listen to and consider council's views.
The floods in Queensland impacted around 70 per cent of the entire state and affected around 60 per cent of the entire population.
Last week the Queensland Government also launched a statewide independent Commission of Inquiry to examine the flood disaster, including aspects such as government preparedness, emergency response and local and regional planning systems.