Southern state carriers count cost of flooding

Money lost and trucks halted as record floods take their toll for Victorian and South Australian firms

By Ruza Zivkusic | January 17, 2010

Victorian floods are set to leave a great financial impact on the state, Premier Ted Baillieu has warned.

Horsham is currently bracing itself for the biggest flood in 200 years as the Wimmera River expects to peak later this afternoon.

A local freight business, Roger Perry Bulk Haulage, is uncertain of what to expect.

Its operations have already been affected over the weekend, with freight to Melbourne taking up to six hours, which is double the usual time, a Clerk, Doug Crellan, says.

"We could be flooded any minute at the moment so we don’t know where we stand," Crellan adds.

"We’ll play it by the ear and see how long it takes for the waters to recede.

"It is just another day in paradise and we have to keep doing what we’re doing."

The Glen Cameron Group freight carrier in Melbourne has already lost $100,000 in revenue during three days of Victorian flooding last week, its General Manager, Dennis Blaney, says.

With major delays from Melbourne to Adelaide, the carrier had to divert through Geelong, Hamilton and Mt Gambier on its way to Adelaide.

"Drivers were stuck in Ballarat for 11 hours on Thursday night," Blaney says.

"The financial cost is very hard."

Adelaide transport and logistics provider Northline had its services throughout Queensland affected, with the Northern Territory inaccessible due to road closures from Brisbane, spokeswoman Jessica Beaton says.

That route has now been re-opened.

Northline also advised today that linehaul vehicles were operating to Mackay, Townsville and Cairns from Brisbane.

Linehaul to Rockhampton had also started.

Toowoomba and Mt Isa were now accessible with some restrictions.

"It’s the inner city Brisbane area that’s affecting us the most," she adds.

"Victoria seems to be OK at present time but we’re monitoring the clean-up and the news to work out where we can access."

Premier’s spokesman Simon Troeth says the cabinet is today assessing the full financial impact of the floods.

"The Premier expects there to be substantial costs to Victoria, both direct and indirect over a long period of time," Troeth says.

The Victorian Government has activated emergency relief grants to provide support to flood-affected communities.

Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan says the recent deluge had seriously affected many parts of Victoria, prompting a need to activate hardship grants and loans.

On Friday, the State Emergency Services had received over 2835 calls for assistance across the western half of the state. A total of 4190 calls were made since the storms and floods began last Tuesday in Victoria.

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