Construction woes leave storm-damaged homes waiting years for repairs

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
4 Min Read

Homes hit by wild holiday weather in Queensland’s southeast will take years to repair, thanks to widespread material and labour shortages in the construction sector. 

At least ten homes were “completely destroyed” over the new year break, with another 556 damaged by a freak tornado and deadly storms that tore through the region.

Talking to reporters last week, Premier Steven Miles said restoration work from previous disasters, including Brisbane’s 2022 floods, was still underway, so it would probably take “years to get everyone’s homes repaired” from recent weather events.

“The construction market continues to be challenging in terms of labour and other supplies,” he said. 

“We have a number of people in emergency accommodation (and) the housing department will continue to support people who need assistance with temporary accommodation while they get their homes repaired.

“We need to continue new builds as well; the housing market is constrained right now. We have seen thousands of people move to Queensland from other states and that has put great pressure on housing supply.”

Early estimates for the state’s damage bill put the cost of repairs at a whopping $2bn, with Deputy Premier Cameron Dick saying that number “will increase significantly” over the coming months.

“We will pay what needs to be paid to ensure everyone recovers,” he said.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child would be available to help those who have suffered “some sort of significant damage to their homes” or a “serious injury” as a result of the storms.

“We understand that often insurance claims can take some time to process, so these $1000 payments will help to get Queenslanders back on their feet faster,” he said. 

“Other assistance is already available through the state and commonwealth governments to help with recovery costs, including $5000 grants for electricity and sewerage re­connection, up to $50,000 for uninsured homeowners to rebuild or repair, and concessional small business loans of up to $250,000.”

More than 60,000 people across the state have already received millions in government financial assistance.

Bring in the tradies

With the severe storms sending demand for construction work creeping ever higher, many hope to see the state government incentivise tradies to fill the widespread labour shortages in the Sunshine State. 

This wouldn’t be the first time the government has stepped in to save the day. Construction workers saw a similar multi-million dollar ‘Tradies in Paradise‘ campaign back in 2022 encourage workers to make the move to areas struggling to rebuild following severe floods. 

At the time, the program enticed an extra 1000 tradies of all specialities to travel interstate into flood-affected areas suffering from similar delays with the promise of an extra $1750 payment and a secure pipeline of work.  

But with no funding for the program long since dried up and no word from state officials, storm-affected homeowners have seemingly been left to fend for themselves against inevitable construction delays and rising costs as we journey into the summer storm season. 

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.