This photo from the Australian Government Disaster Relief site shows donated supplies being readied for flood victims.

$20 Billion Rebuilding Job Left by Australian Floods

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has estimated at least 28,000 homes must be rebuilt and many more must be repaired. Australia's prime minister on Tuesday established a business task force to spearhead the effort.

The mammoth job of rebuilding homes and businesses after this month's flooding in Queensland, Australia will cost as much as $20 billion, with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh estimating at least 28,000 homes must be rebuilt and many more must be repaired. Julia Gillard, Australia's prime minister, on Tuesday announced the government's creation of a business task force to support Queensland residents' recovery.

The task force consists of 10 Australian business leaders from various industries to solicit corporate donations and in-kind donations while bringing business expertise to the rebuilding effort. Chaired by the federal treasurer, the task force will meet with Gillard for the first time next week. At least 20 people died in the flooding.

At the same time, Bligh launched a $15 million inquiry into the floods, with a three-member panel appointed to examine government preparedness and emergency response. She said the operation of dams would be among the issues the panel investigates, along with land use planning, development in flood-prone areas, and how well private insurers handle and pay claims. "The last three weeks have been truly shocking for all Queenslanders, and now is the time to forensically examine the devastating chain of events and the aftermath," she said.

Their interim report is due by Aug. 1, 2011, with a final report due by Jan. 17, 2012.

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