Francisco Klobucar stands inside the frame of his Goodna property, as electrical wires hang down from the rafters.
The flood-ravaged home has no ceiling, walls, insulation, or hot water but without insurance, Mr Klobucar has little choice but to continue living in the shell of what was once his home.
“I don’t even know how much it’s going to cost to rebuild, [what happens if I] put all that money in and it happens again?” he said.
“Who’s going to rebuild every five years or ten years when you go through a flood? Strip it all, redo it all.
“That’s money, emotion, stress.”
The property backs onto the local sports ground so when the Queensland government unveiled an ambitious proposal for a $741 million buyback scheme, which proposed to give flood-affected Queenslanders the option to retrofit, raise up or voluntarily sell back homes at a high risk from future floods.
While Mr Klobucar initially thought his problems were solved, his hopes were short-lived after the federal government rejected the state government’s request for the Commonwealth to joint fund the flood relief scheme.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying the federal government had already committed $912 million to the state’s flood response, and the additional programs proposed by the Queensland government fell into the “responsibilities and discretion” of local and state governments.
“These programs can, and should, be directly funded and delivered by the Queensland government, in the same way that the Commonwealth fully funds significant elements of our own contribution,” Mr Morrison said in a letter to Ms Palaszczuk.
The program would have seen grants of up to $50,000 to modify 5,500 flood-affected homes, while grants of up to $100,000 would be available to raise 1,000 homes.
“The buyback would’ve been perfect for the soccer club, this could’ve been car parks, extra land for them and if it did flood again, I wouldn’t have the same problem,” Mr Klobucar said.
“And then you’ve got to start again, rip up the floors, walls, everything — it just sucks.”
Funding rejections sparks widespread criticism
The Commonwealth’s rejection has sparked criticism from the state government and flood-impacted residents, with the Insurance Council of Australia’s chief executive Andrew Hall labelling the move “disappointing and short-sighted”.
More than 92,700 claims had been lodged in Queensland in relation to the recent flood disaster, with an estimated claims cost of $1.3 billion, Mr Hall said.
Hafiz Ahmad is one of them.
He lives with his wife and four children in their Goodna property in Ipswich that no longer has walls or electricity after 1.6 metres of flood water swept through the property earlier this year.
With Mr Ahmad’s wife pregnant with their fifth child, the soon to be family of seven are confined to the home’s second storey and still have no access to hot water.
Mr Ahmad isn’t insured and was hoping to take part in the state government’s buyback scheme as it was their “one-time solution”.
With that hope fallen through, the family are now waiting for funding from government grants, which they’re hoping to receive before the birth of their new baby.
State funding to remain but ‘won’t go as far’
Acting Premier Cameron Dick said the Prime Minister’s response showed the “highest level of disrespect for Queenslanders” and accused Mr Morrison of making a “political calculation” based on votes in flood-impacted areas.
Mr Dick confirmed Queensland would go it alone on a package without federal support but said it would not “go as far” to help flood victims.
“We will not remove our money,” Mr Dick said.
“On the eve of the election, he’s announced that he will not be providing hope to Queensland families — Queensland families who have been smashed, time and again, by flooding and natural disasters in this state,” Mr Dick said yesterday.
It comes as Queen Elizabeth II posted to social media with a message of condolence for flood victims impacted by the natural disasters.
“I have been saddened to hear of the loss of life and scale of devastation.
“My thoughts continue to be with those who have been impacted as the focus now turns to the long recovery phase ahead.”
Speaking in Parramatta yesterday, the Prime Minister reiterated his position.
“The requests they’ve made, under these programs, go outside of the scope of what the normal arrangements are for flood responses,” he said.
“When state governments have spent as much as we have on supporting flood victims, then I think they can be critical.”