THE flood-affected community of Grantham is set to become the first designated reconstruction area under the new Queensland Reconstruction Authority's powers, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced today.
Ms Bligh said the move would accelerate voluntary relocation and voluntary land-swaps in the affected area, with reconstruction expected to begin in Grantham by mid-year.
A master planning process is underway in the community, with the government conducting community meetings and workshops in an effort to ensure the process is led by the community.
"This proud little town has suffered enough and we are determined to help Grantham residents get back on their feet as quickly as possible." Ms Bligh said.
As a result of the floods in January, assessments have found that 119 homes in the town sustained significant damage, 19 were damaged beyond repair and ten were completely destroyed.
Ms Bligh said that approximately half the affected residents have indicated a desire to relocate to higher ground, while others wish to rebuild on their current property. A "small proportion" indicated their desire to leave Grantham.
The Premier told Parliament she approved the preparation of a regulation to declare Grantham a reconstruction area, because while some options exist under current legislation to implement the community's preferred plan, they would require long and protracted approval processes.