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The social and economic cost of the North and Far North Queensland Monsoon Trough

Informing future disaster recovery planning

Deloitte Access Economics was engaged by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to analyse the social and economic costs of the Monsoon Trough in North and Far North Queensland.

The North and Far North Queensland Monsoon Trough that happened from 25 January 2019 to 14 February 2019 has imposed billions of dollars in direct costs to individuals, businesses, councils and government. The region experienced heavy rainfall and major flooding across more than 100 million hectares – 56% of the state’s land. The major economic hub of Townsville was inundated and large sections of grazing land and critical infrastructure were damaged or destroyed.

Beyond these impacts, there is also a broad set of flow-on impacts that will take months or years to recover from. This includes impacts from business disruption, as primary producers restock and rebuild and tourism and other trading take time to return to usual. It also includes environmental damage to productive land, waterways and coastal ecosystems that are yet to be fully realised, particularly in the context of a region that had previously been coping with prolonged drought.

There is also anticipation of a high and lasting social cost, with some consequences for people’s health and wellbeing expected to persist for the rest of their lives. These include impacts on physical and mental health, family and community cohesion.

The Queensland Reconstruction Authority engaged Deloitte Access Economics to analyse the social and economic costs of the Monsoon Trough, with the intent of using the report to evaluate existing diaster recovery measures and improve disaster resilience planning.

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