Anthony Albanese, Steven Miles to tour storm-hit southeast Qld and flood-ravaged Cairns

Anthony Albanese will visit storm-ravaged South East Queensland on Tuesday, where he is set to announce a further $50m in financial relief to help the thousands impacted by freak summer weather.

The Gold Coast, Logan and Scenic Rim were hit by severe storms between Christmas Day and the first days of 2024, which caused widespread blackouts that lasted for weeks, and significant damage to hundreds of homes and businesses, and dozens of schools.

The Prime Minister will accompany Queensland Premier Steven Miles to tour the area – three weeks after the pair visited Cairns in the wake of cyclone Jasper, where they committed $64m in joint funding.

Mr Albanese will head north later on Tuesday after their southeast visit.

Mr Albanese said a joint $50m package would be unveiled on Tuesday to assist Queenslanders on both ends of the state.

“That will comprise a range of programs – tourism recovery, a clean-up program for both the southeast Queensland and the impact of tropical cyclone Jasper,” he told ABC Brisbane.

“We will be making grants for local resilience and recovery grants for the three councils in southeast Queensland.

“In addition to that, we’ll be announcing a cyclone industry recovery and resilience officers program.”

The visit comes just days after federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt announced two lots of assistance for those hardest hit in the state’s southeast.

Residents of the hardest-hit suburbs gained access to a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child.

To access that payment, significant injury or major damage to homes due to the storms had to have been suffered.

Pressed on whether that was enough money given how much people had had to fork out for generators during the extensive blackouts and rising cost-of-living more broadly,

Mr Albanese said it was a “significant contribution” the state and federal governments had made.

“We realise that at a time of natural disasters, some people will be doing it really tough, we acknowledge that,” he said.

“But what this is aimed at doing is making sure that people aren’t left without.”

Separately, anyone living in the three local government areas who were left unable to go to work or their business now have access to up to 13-weeks of income support at the JobSeeker level.

To date, $15m in financial aid had been doled out to 86,000 people – $10.5m to 60,000 people in the southeast, and $4.5m to 26,000 people in Far North Queensland.

He said that as both ends of the state continued to clean up and recover, there would be a “thorough examination” of what needed to be done better, and whether there was room for improvement with key infrastructure.

The clean-up may be well underway in Queensland, but further south the water is still causing havoc in Victoria, where evacuation orders and flood warnings are in action.

“Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more intense. We were told that would be an impact of climate change, and unfortunately we are seeing that play out in practice,” Mr Albanese said.

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