In Brisbane’s flood-affected suburbs, such as Toowong and St Lucia, the roadside piles of water-damaged possessions – including fridges, furniture and bedding, all rendered brown and drained of vibrant colours – remind unaffected residents of the heartache wrought on fellow Queenslanders by the flood of 2011.
Queensland experienced tragic losses of life this week, as an inland tsunami tore through Toowoomba, devastated Grantham, and ultimately flooded large parts of Brisbane and Ipswich, leaving a legacy of grief, mud, damaged possessions, and ruined homes and businesses. The death toll may number in the dozens and there is speculation that the cost of the floods could be around $10-20 billion.
Undoubtedly there will be an adverse impact on the Queensland economy in the short-term through disruptions to flood-affected businesses, in addition to the loss of mining production and exports we have already experienced. While most damaged businesses will recover and reopen – including, surprisingly, the wrecked Drift Restaurant – there will be a number of businesses that cannot afford to reopen, such as Big Dad’s Pies in Ipswich. In aggregate, the negative impact on jobs may be signficant. Nonetheless, as Queensland is rebuilt over the next few years, infrastructure spending will revive the economy, and we will return to our old strength (see previous post on Recovery from Natural Disasters).
As the clean up continues, we should keep in mind the defiant and inspirational words of the owner of Drift Restaurant, David Moore:
The river has taken the restaurant, but it will never take our spirit.