5 August 2021
Rolling out works to repair and restore the region’s roads following the two significant rain events in February 2020 and March 2021 is a balancing act that requires strategic management, particularly when works rely heavily on recovery funding.
Southern Downs Regional Council is currently balancing two active disaster recovery programs through the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) to cover necessary works to damaged roads.
A Council spokesperson thanked the community for their cooperation while it worked closely with QRA to rebuild the region’s roads.
“Council is thankful for the patient and respectful way in which the community cooperated with changed road conditions and rules whilst emergency safety road works were in progress immediately following the floods,” the spokesperson said.
“Council has continued to work closely with QRA to secure recovery funding for both short term repairs and long term works.
“With the 2020 event resulting in approvals covering 800kms of the unsealed road network and the 2021 event expected to be of a similar magnitude, Council will deliver all approved works during the funding programs. The delivery of improvements to the road network will take time complete and we ask the community for their patience while this work is carried out.”
At the time of the March 2021 floods, the 2020 restoration program was approved with 30 per cent completed. However, while the March 2021 event relieved the region of extreme water restrictions and filled the dams, it delayed the roll out of the 2020 program and triggered a new disaster activation under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
Further compounding the situation was the fact the March 2021 event caused more damage to some of the 2020 approved restoration works and Council was required to re-submit for additional funding under the 2021 event.
“Unfortunately, due to the timing of the disaster event funding programs, and in order to ensure the maximum cost reimbursement to Council, it has not always be possible for the road network to be graded in a normal sequence,” the spokesperson said.
Works on the 2020 event are required to be completed by June 2022 to be eligible for funding. The 2021 restoration works have until June 2023 to be completed.
From July 2021 onwards, Council will be primarily working on closing out approved 2020 flood damage, while submissions for 2021 flood damage are being submitted for approval. As these submissions are approved, the works will be scheduled for restoration within the above time lines.
Council will continue to inform residents of upcoming road work schedules through regular notifications on its Facebook page, website and through the local media.
Both the 2020 and 2021 Reconstruction of Essential Public Assets assistance is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments under the DRFA.