Inland councils fear cyclone refuges need hardening

INLAND local governments directly in the path of severe, destructive cyclones need financial assistance to "harden" refuge buildings to meet safety standards, one proactive council plans to argue.

The Tablelands council says experience demonstrates people self evacuate from coastal areas believing the mountain range will afford them some level of protection.

But it fears liability from opening buildings not sufficiently hardened or not Housing Department-assessed.

The council hopes to pass a motion at this month's Local Government Association of Queensland conference that puts those close to, but not directly on, the coast on the Commonwealth and state funding agenda.

Places of refuge are not cyclone shelters, rather buildings a qualified building surveyor has assessed as suitable for use during severe cyclonic events.

They are a place of last resort provided for urgent immediate shelter for preserving life for those with no alternate means.

The concern is that if councils tried to be proactive and undertook the work well in advance of a cyclone, it would not be claimable under any counter disaster operations claim.

The Tablelands council argued that in its region, like many in northern Queensland, the majority of the region's communities were between seven and 50km from the coastline.

"However, the region has received no funding for construction of suitable facilities and we know from tropical cyclones Larry and Yasi that these facilities on the Tablelands are in high demand, similar to that of coastal councils," it read.

The LGAQ supports the position that councils should be appropriately resourced to ensure they can adequately prepare appropriate facilities to help ensure the safety of the community during a disaster.



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