Hardship grants offered as cyclone power outages remain

Neve Brissenden |

Thousands of households remain without power after Cyclone Kirrily hit north Queensland.
Thousands of households remain without power after Cyclone Kirrily hit north Queensland.

Thousands of Queenslanders remain without power as ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily continues its downpours across the already sodden state.

Residents are cleaning up after strong winds hit the region on Thursday evening along with rainfall totals between 100mm and 150mm, but minimal property damage was recorded.

More than 10,000 customers remain without electricity on Sunday evening, according to Ergon Energy, with crews working around the clock to restore power.

About 66,000 customers experienced a power outage at the peak of the cyclone’s crossing.

Disaster assistance has also been extended to cyclone-affected residents in the state’s north.

Personal hardship assistance grants have been offered to residents of the Townsville and Burdekin shires, the worst hit by the weekend’s power outages.

Grants of up to $180 for individuals and up to $900 for families of five or more were announced on Saturday night, via the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements jointly funded by the federal and Queensland governments.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles on Saturday said power outages were also affecting phone networks and water supply for about 10,000 households and urged those affected to continue conserving water.

Parts of the state remain at risk of heavy rain and flooding as Kirrily moves across the state’s northern interior, the Bureau of Meteorology warned.

Heavy rain fell over the weekend in the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane, the Central Highlands and northwest Queensland, with the bureau issuing flood warnings for numerous rivers.

Leslie Harrison Dam in the southeast of the state is releasing large amounts of water as it continues to fill up, prompting a flash flooding warning for those further downstream.

Residents have been told to avoid fast-flowing or deep water near waterways and floodplains.

Kirrily follows the destructive Tropical Cyclone Jasper lashing the state’s far north in December bringing heavy rain, widespread isolation and major flooding.

In Western Australia, heavy rain is threatening residents along the Fitzroy River in the west Kimberley region.

River levels are rising at Willare, where minor flooding is possible from Tuesday, according to the bureau.

River levels could reach eight metres by early next week, potentially affecting several small communities but sparing Fitzroy Crossing.

Close to 40 homes and 40 businesses were destroyed across the Kimberley in devastating floods in 2023.

Flooding also caused significant damage to infrastructure and the Great Northern Highway, including a major bridge at Fitzroy Crossing.