Flood fatigue hits QLD fundraiser

From The Australian:

THE head of Queensland’s flood appeal says donations are so low they won’t go anywhere near helping those who’ve lost it all.

Terry Mackenroth says only $6 million has been raised so far, including $1 million each from the state and federal governments.

“For the amount of devastation I’ve seen just through watching television, it is not going to go anywhere near paying the sorts of claims we will receive,” he told reporters.

…He cited the flood appeal from two years ago, which raised a quarter of a billion dollars, and the Cyclone Larry appeal, which raised $25 million.

Interesting. Some speculations:

  • we’re tapped out;
  • we’re all wondering why folks still live on flood plains as climate change cometh;
  • we’re all waiting for a new flood levy;
  • there just wasn’t enough water;
  • chick Premiers make better appeals than do blokes.
Houses and Holes
Latest posts by Houses and Holes (see all)


  1. Or, 4. Fewer folk are prepared to stick their hands in their pockets only to pay double if there’s another flood tax.

    Seriously though, people of Queen’sland; get some insurance. If you are refused insurance, there’s a clue there.

  2. Queenslanders are tapped out H&H and in a very negative mindset re: the economy and immediate future I suspect.

    Wandered around the Queen St mall yesterday – dead. For lease signs everywhere, generally not many signs of life. If you chat to the local small businesses, they generally report significant downturn in business etc.

    – Parking costs up in the city
    – Public transport costs significantly up
    – Fuel expensive after the previous rebate axed
    – Massive flow on effect from axing of 14K of public servants and massive government cuts to programs and services. I know of at least two people who have pissed off overseas (some to NZ) given the shitty work environment
    – Rego most expensive in Australia
    – Negative wealth effect in play given large falls in house/unit prices from peak
    – Pretty high rental costs relative to median wage etc

    Nobody trusts the Premier given his callousness, so why would they donate?

    He has spat in the faces of the elderly, the young, the mentally ill, youth offenders, those in public housing and so on.

    If you put offside the majority of the population with your leadership and show zero community-mindedness, is it surprising that the community reacts in kind? People have simply gone into survival mode IMO

    • Now that’s a bit neeeeeeaaargative!

      Though I have to say I thought Newman was pretty weak in the crisis. Very wooden versus Bligh. Definitely less community animus in the man.

      • Negative? The first I heard about it 😉

        Yes, Newman was a bit like a Pinocchio wishing he could be a ‘real Premier’ (with human emotions) during the crisis. But most definitely wooden and soulless I agree.

        Nevertheless, it gave him the opportunity to ‘shine’ given his engineering background and ability to look authoritative in appointing the military colonels etc to overlook the reconstruction. All political posturing of course.

        Re: Bligh, perhaps Bill Withers said it best (sarc definitely on):

        Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
        It’s not warm when she’s away
        Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
        She always gone too long anytime she goes away

        Wonder this time where she’s gone
        Wonder if she’s gone to stay
        Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
        This house just ain’t no home anytime she goes away

        I know
        I know
        I know

      • “Very wooden versus Bligh. Definitely less community animus in the man.”

        HnH you have unwittingly put your finger on a lot of the cause of the paucity of real capable people in Parliament.
        You praise Bligh because she got on Television and shed tears while saying ‘we’re Queenslanders etc etc..all that stupid baloney. Newman gets on and baiscally says we’ll do Step 1 step 2 step 3. He has a plan of sorts in response to events not just emotional wailing.
        Yet the media, and indeed in this case yourself, writes how her performance was so great!
        Frankly it would have been better at teh time of the flood if she had got the hell off the Television and left the advice giving TV appearances to the experts who knew what they were talking about. She was simply politic(k)ing.

        • Sorry …got waylaid! It seems our media is more interested in emotional blathering on TV than in real substance and real people who get things done. That’s why we get all these politicians on both sides who are good for sweet fanny adams!
          (Note my reformed language! 🙂 )

        • A lot of politics is making connections to people. Leadership involves getting people on board and bringing them along.

          If Newman can “get things done” but can’t connect to people or bring them along, he’s not a politician or a leader – he’s a technocrat.

          (This is not to say Bligh didn’t have big problems. But her flood response seems by most neutral accounts to have been pretty good).

    • Actually I thought that Campbell Newman did a good job and he resurrected his political career.

      Perhaps Bobby, not being a Qlder you don’t fully appreciate the subtle differences.

  3. I suspect there’s a bit of cynicism in the electorate. I know I was a bit pissed off last time. I donated quite generously, as did many others, and was more than a little browned off when the government came and put their hands in my pocket for some more.

    • I reckon this a big part of it. I am a member of a service group, we are looking to make our donation via our normal fundraising rather than a specific appeal given that cynicism, flood levies are a double edged sword.

    • Yes Mr Walker. I can tell you in a two words why I won’t be donating – Class Action. What a spit in the face of the people of Queensland who gave so generously last time. These people and their greedy ass lawyer’s can take a long run off a short peir. Many of these people were underinsured, and paid low premiums for living on a flood plain for years, because they failed to read the fine print on their policy yet were still made whole by the people of Queensland and some even guilted the insurance companies to pay up as well. These illiterates snickered to themselves that not only were they more than adequately compensated but also didn’t have to pay the flood levy everyone else had to. Some, seeing the community largesse, rushed to buy the flood prone properties at firesale prices assuming lightning wouldn’t strike twice and even if it did they would be bailed out. But the topper, the ultimate kick in the guts, the last straw was when they inititiated a class action against the people of Queensland for trauma they have suffered. Not a cent from me.

      • Well I’m certainly joining in the class action, and I’m absolutely sure that I wouldn’t have been flooded without the incompetent management of SEQ water.

        You see that is why we have laws that protect others from the actions of others, whether they be caused by government or private parties.

        Clearly you don’t understand that everyone who was flooded won’t be able to make a claim, only those who would normally have been above flood level.

        It worries me not that you feel angered and think you hold the holier than thou moral high ground, because I know that you don’t.

        Illiterate I am not.

          • I have no reason to divulge anything personal that I don’t wish to.

            However if a claimant was awarded a payout, I believe that any payment awarded would be used to pay back to the Insurer first, and any residual will go to the claimant after legal costs have been deducted.

            No one is allowed to profit from the legal action or an insurance claim.


          • Given your terminally negative POV I expected as much from you.

            You could open your mind and accept information that may benefit you, or you can keep it firmly shut. It’s your choice.


          • Yeah, well maybe you can explain to the good people of Bundaberg why the people of Queenslands’ wallets are closed?

          • I have happily given, but I can’t speak for others, and I can’t always justify headlines in newspapers.

            Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong.

        • Well I’m certainly joining in the class action, and I’m absolutely sure that I wouldn’t have been flooded without the incompetent management of SEQ water.

          Alas the parasites come out of the woodwork, looking to blame anyone but themselves. Let me guess, even if Wivenhoe didn’t exist you would still be blaming the Govt and trying to extract some cash for your under-insured property.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        I bet you a 10 buck donation you can’t get that fine little rant in the Murdoch press.

  4. People like myself are still pissed off about the flood levy. Its only “one-off” until the next time the federal govt needs to buy votes in QLD.

    I was sent to Brissie to work on flood clean-up then took holidays to Cairns. Got caught in Cyclone Yasi.

    Stayed on six more weeks, donated, volunteered, supported local businesses.

    Get home to SA, got taxed. Not happy. Not donating/supporting/volunteering this time. Govt shouldn’t legislate compassion.

  5. I wondering how much Mr Costello is having to hurriedly rewrite his “end of Feb” Commission of Audit report.
    Not much point in releasing a report without including the effects of this most recent shock.

    More asset sales/expenditure cuts perhaps?

    • Agreed. Assets sales I gather will include:

      – flogging off remaining electricity assets (we will be sold the neoliberal line hard on this one e.g. costs us 100s of millions to SUBSIDIZE etc – like most essential services do); and
      – any valuable remaining inner CBD and inner suburb land to private interests – developers, private schools who want to expand their inner city holdings etc. This is Campbell’s ultimate quid pro quo for his campaign backers.

      There will also likely be further rationalization (read privatization) of the public service where possible. He has already farmed out HACC services, various medical and engineering positions, IT related areas and so on. Count on much more of this.

      The long term impact of this will be of course higher private sector costs when the same people are hired back on contracts. Happens time and time again in the real world, but we’ll be told the private sector is more efficient. Pull the other one. When you have worked in both sectors, you realize there is laziness and stupidity in equal measure in both.

      We’ll probably be told that harsher austerity is required in terms of government spending given the 2nd flood in 2 years rah rah.

      Of course, any flood levies or other measures will sting the Joe Blow average man and not the upper echelons. Oh No. We definitely can’t go for that (since I’m on a roll waxing lyrical today):


      Hall & Oates – I can’t go for that

      I can’t go for being twice as nice
      I can’t go for just repeating the some old lines
      Use the body now you want my soul
      Oo forget about it say no go

      Yeah i’ll do anything you want me to
      I’ll do almost anything that you want me to
      But i can’t go for that
      No can do.

  6. ‘we’re all wondering why folks still live on flood plains’

    Land supply near infrastructure. Passing the buck to state governments and monetary policy should do the trick. After graciously making way look how much employment in the homesteading industry has picked up vs OCR rate drops.

  7. Discussions with my friends and family a year ago or so, most people didn’t understand the different purposes of the 2011 Premier’s Appeal and the federal Flood Levy.

    My understanding was that the Premier’s appeal, which was extended to cover the Cyclone Yasi disaster, was aimed at helping people that has insufficient insurance and would have been turfed out on the street.

    The federal levy was instated to cover the cost of uninsured infrastructure repairs (roads, railways and bridges).

    There was no double-tapping for a single purpose. greebly24, I did the same but wasn’t sent. I volunteered in Brisbane and have properties in the north and volunteered there as well. I donated and paid the flood levy. The difference is, I understood that they were different payments for different purposes.

    Incidently, re insurance and climate change, I’ve been raising the point with skeptics for a while that climate change as an issue will really hit home when insurance is no longer available or affordable.

    • Thanks for that clarification; I honestly thought that the Flood Tax also bailed-out (pun intended) uninsured private loss. Was that really not the case?

      Ultimately, we were only hit with it to enable Swan to land the surplus. And how did that go?

      • Too true re the surplus.

        From the SMH in 2011…

        “Premier Bligh said she hoped Australians understood money they had donated to the appeal would help flood-affected mums and dads, while the levy would fund major infrastructure rebuilding work.”

        Everyone forgets that those floods hit regional Victoria badly too. From the same SMH article…

        “Preliminary estimates of the rebuilding costs in Queensland tally $3.9 billion, with other flood-hit areas is about $1 billion, Ms Gillard said. Several Victorian towns, including Swan Hill on the Murray River, remain under threat from river levels while other towns in the north-west of the state may be isolated for some time yet.”

        The insurance question was raised and answered last year. None of the reinsurers will take on Queensland roads at a reasonable price. I run into it all of the time, urbanites just don’t get how *big* Queensland is, which means lots of roads.

        • Yes, I know it wasn’t just the Bogan State that got wet, but it’s more fun to point at Queen’sland than Victoria.

          Ok, so now I’m really amused; the Flood Levy wasn’t even a moral play of “we’re all in it together”, just a pathetic way of avoiding borrowing for government self-insurance on infrastructure? Just. Wow.

          I wonder how many others thought like me that uninsured private loss was covered by the levy? I recall several tetchy conversations where I was told “it’s only $200, help out the people who lost their homes”.

      • It’s like the 50% plus taxes that make up the $1.50/ltr to fund roads yet we’re forced to pay f**king tolls to drive on those very roads our taxes are suppose to pay for.

  8. Don’t forget the lawsuit against the State/Wivenhoe operators. I will be paying through various state imposed charges for that, so I am saving my pennies.

  9. we’re all wondering why folks still live on flood plains as climate change cometh;

    Aha, so at least we know one of the MB blogger’s opinions.

    It would be nice to see a position statement from each of them.

    • I’m pretty sure that reinsurers won’t confuse increased risk of disaster due to climate change with ‘weather’.

  10. Tapped out, probably
    Climate change, no
    Flood levy, not likely but possible
    Water, yeah not enough (in comparison)
    Chick premiers, flood massive, Bligh appealing

    Keep the anti-Gillard campaign to apposite posts.

    • I thought my point 100% apposite. If you listened to you would have got the clear message The Government Has This Sorted.

  11. If climate change really were the threat its made out to be, we’d be spending $300 million on mitigating infrastructure, flood control systems etc, rather than a ministry of climate change full of quangos in Canberra.

    We need to use the carrot and stick approach to get rid of these useless tits.

  12. Building on flood plains is the epitome of self centered greedy government incompetence. Always passing the buck to the next generation.

  13. Some historical info from the BOM (bureau of meteorology), re Brisbane only.

    Sean’s rough observations:
    Sean: please note far left bars in 1840 era. Also note cluster and height around 1893.

    1840’s= twice it was above predicted 5.2m for 2011 (8.5m + 7m).

    1893 = twice equal to and once above 5.2m for 2011 (5.2m+8.5m+5m)

    1840 to 1893 (60years approx.) the Brisbane river was equal/higher to 1974 flood levels 5 times
    Source: http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml

    The above data observations were downloaded around the 30/1/2011. Actual BOM data generated 9/12/2009.

    ClusterF is the name and some big ones too (levels).

    Fund fatigue may have set in when most people were appalled at the Bligh govt. extreme reticence of distribution to the needy of public donated funds which ran into the millions.

    Secondly, the media was playing the man not the ball– the disaster zones were not Bris/Ipswich, specifically but elsewhere-Bundaberg, etc.

    Terry Mackenroth was (only in QLD do we have this shite) declared the world’s best treasurer by premier pete beatty-et tu wayne swan?

    Terry managed to over run budgets for the redevelopment of Laing Park (Suncorp Stadium) and the GC desal plant by multiples. No cudos there me boy, fundraising or otherwise, ya effen galute!

    I also remember the mayor of Bundaberg pleading in the 2011 flood disasters for resumption of flood prone housing and parkland to be approved for said areas.

    Regardless, we should all bend our backs for our brothers in Bundy and elsewhere.

  14. My dear man o’ the west, 3d1k, the clusters I was referring to were of flood levels.

    Other observations I have made since the early seventies surfing in SEQ are:

    Every “normal” year in SEQ has a final strongblow of the westerlies in late Aug/Sept.

    Hot norwesters arrive in Oct and also in Feb.

    (Didn’t happen in 2010, the final west blow in Aug/Sept or the hot norths Oct.- ears pricked,eyes open- high alert).

    The Harvey Bay/Fraser Coast has a propensity to stall/slow/holding pattern for large lows.

    Tide heights combined with storm surge can be multipliers in some areas.

    Bridge design can be overwhelmed and be actully turned into dams facilitating local flooding.

    Tiny black ants go on the invade dwellings attack. Did so before recent floods. It was so hot they were doing backflips in the toilet. Similar reports from mates north, south and west of Bris.
    Don’t know if they were on extreme heat or flood distress. They are still at it and have increased in the last few days after subsiding after the tropical low.

    Watching for the Feb. norwests and the March wet months, plus the BOM.

  15. Funny that my wallet closed by itself when it heard that Terry Mackenroth was the boss of the disaster fund.

  16. Couple of points – my local disaster area really only had damage as a result of the wind – 90km/hr+ for a couple of days. By Northern Australia standards this is mild and unfortunately SE Qld not set up for that type of wind – yet. Obviously trees in wrong places as well. Last big blow in SE Qld was early 1970s.

    In addition Newman actually made a good point that federal funds for disasters are tied to like for like replacement – we should try to get something better for the next storm / flood. Lots of red tape and faults on all sides.