Coast homes among 131 bought back by government after 2022 floods

More than 130 Queensland property owners on flood plains will have their homes bought back under a $741 million program to “build back better” after last year’s deadly disasters.

The buyback program was launched in May after floods in February and March killed 13 people and damaged more than 9000 homes and businesses in the state’s south-east.

On the Sunshine Coast, heavy rain left communities isolated and caused flooding not seen in more than three decades. More than 400mm fell in some areas in hours, cutting the Bruce Highway and Sunshine Motorway and forcing evacuations.

Acting Premier Steven Miles said on Wednesday that 131 properties had voluntarily accepted terms out of about 180 offers made under a $741 million joint Resilient Homes Fund from the state and federal governments.

Three buyback offers have been made on the Sunshine Coast, with two being accepted. The third is understood to be in the process of being finalised.

“(The fund) is to ensure that we don’t just build back after the disastrous floods of last year, but that we build back better; that the homes that we put people back into are more flood-resilient,” he said.

“When we launched this program it was the biggest of its kind in Australia’s history and is now the most progressed in the country.”

The buyback offers were made to flood-affected owners in the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan, Fraser Coast, Gympie, Moreton Bay and Lockyer Valley local government areas.

Flooding at Nambour.
Flooding at Nambour.

Mr Miles said there was “nothing unusual” about having 50 home owners who did not accept a buyback offer.

“Like any property purchase, this takes time; we need to settle on agreed prices, contracts and settlement dates,” he said.

“All up we expect to purchase 500 properties … in most cases the homes will be demolished and the land ownership transferred to the local government and in most cases that would allow them to be added to parklands and creek reserves.”

Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said the buyback offers had targeted the areas of southeast Queensland most at risk of dangerous and fast-moving floods.

“We know that not every part of Queensland is going to be suitable for a home buyback, but there are some areas that flood so regularly that it is in home owners’ interest, and frankly the taxpayers’ interests, to buy back those homes,” Mr Watt said.

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