2011 Australian floods

Brisbane in 2011 Queensland Floods
Brisbane in 2011 Queensland Floods

Devastating floods affected large regions of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in January 2011. In Queensland, 22 people were killed and nine were still missing as at 24 January 2011.[1]

The Australian federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has predicted the economic cost of the disaster will be the highest in Australia’s history.



  • The total cost of the Queensland flood crisis has been estimated at AUD$30 billion.
  • A breakdown of losses and rebuilding costs Queensland will incur shows that $16.87 billion must be raised to fund the recovery.
  • Repair and replacement of housing, community centres, business premises, major roads, bridges and railways will generate a two-year reconstruction program worth AUD$10 billion.
  • Predicted short-term losses of AUD$590 million but a quick return to profit once the clean-up begins.
  • Fruit and vegetable growers, cotton, sugar, grain and livestock farmers are hardest hit with losses expected to reach $1.6 billion.
  • The cost transport and rail firms have incurred due to blocked roads and railways has totalled about $467 million during the floods.
  • Total insurance claims are estimated to reach AUD$500 million. A separate study by the Insurance Council of Australia says 7000 claim with a total of $365 million are being processed.
  • Mining losses estimated at $2.5 billion – $2 billion on coal shipments and $500 million by other miners.[2]


  • 75 towns have been subject to flooding
  • 3000 rural properties have been flooded
  • More than 250 buildings have been flooded.
  • More than 22,000 sheep, 300,000 poultry and almost 600 cattle have been lost.[3]
  • Cost impacts to the agriculture are estimated to be up to $1.5b
  • Total cost estimates are between $2b[4], and possibly up to $6b

Planning considerations

Many homes have been built on land prone to flooding. A scheme for buying back flood-prone properties in low lying areas near the Brisbane River has not been very effective.

One option is to raise properties (to a total above ground height of 4 meters) above the level of the 2010 floods, and properties on lower ground could be zoned high risk and strategies adopted for preventing further building and re-building there.

Political pressure has been placed on many local governments to open up additional land – even it is flood prone – for development.


There has been significant community efforts to restore communities affected by the floods, with assistance provided be state and federal governments. At the state level, emergency services organisations such as the Police and State Emergency Service(s) have been very active. At the federal level, the Australian Army has been deployed to assist.

Political responses have been varied.

Calls for more dams

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott called for the construction of more dams in Queensland, claiming that this would reduce the impact of similar floods.

A flood levy is introduced

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a Flood Levy that will be in place for one year to raise money required to cover floods-relate expenditure, including rebuilding infrastructure and properties. The federal opposition countered this by claiming that the levy should not be introduced, but money should be diverted from the National Broadband Network project to flood relief.


Flash flooding in Toowoomba
ABC (United States) Worlds news reports on floods in Australia and Brazil

See also

External links


  1. Death toll from south-east Qld floods rises to 22, ABC News
  2. Counting cost of Queensland floods, Herald Sun
  3. Flood levee may have been tampered with, ABC News
  4. Victorian damage bill to hit $2bn, The Age