The federal government says it will provide almost $33 million in next week's budget for new weather radars, school funding support and direct financial assistance for isolated families, following this year's devastating floods in North Queensland.
Two new weather radars will be installed in the Maxwelton and Charters Towers-Hughenden regions to fill the radar coverage gap between Mount Isa and Townsville, and new rain gauges will also be installed in the upper Burdekin region.
Minister for the Environment Melissa Price said the new radars would enable the Bureau of Meteorology to provide more accurate and effective flood advice and help farmers mitigate impacts by moving livestock or mobile infrastructure to higher ground in advance, where possible.
"They are part of a $28 million weather monitoring allocation covering the installation of four new weather radars in Queensland, including two at Taroom and Oakey, and the relocation of an existing radar in Northern NSW," Ms Price said.
The government will provide $4 million to assist Townsville's non-government schools supporting regional students and boarders who have been impacted by the floods with funds to support the needs of individual schools and there will also be $800,000 to support isolated families from 11 regions including Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Flinders, McKinlay, Richmond and Winton Shire Councils.
The government will provide $1000 to families of AIC (Assistance for Isolated Children) and ABSTUDY recipients to help them with the continuing cost of education. Around 550 families are expected to receive the payment and will have 28 days to apply.
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State member for Traeger Robbie Katter said the new weather systems would alleviate a massive radar blackspot that left locals severely flooded at Richmond, Hughenden and Georgetown in the meteorological dark.
"As there are no weather radars installed between Mount Isa and Townsville (and the one in Longreach regularly goes down), North West residents had to rely on word of mouth and social media updates during the floods to find out how much rain had fallen and was expected to fall in their areas," Mr Katter said.
He also said, as a pilot, the absence of a weather radars in the region meant he often had to rely on only sketchy information when planning flights.
"It's more effective to check the weather the old-fashioned way by looking out your window in these parts, however that simply won't do when it comes to major weather events like that we have just experienced," he said.
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