February flood disaster fourth most destructive in Australia’s history

Damages from the February floods that devastated parts of Queensland and New South Wales have been totalled at $4.3 billion, the fourth highest damage bill from a natural disaster in Australia's history.

The devastation is costing twice the amount billed during the 2011 floods in Queensland and has surpassed damages from the 1989 Newcastle earthquake.

Only 1999's eastern Sydney hailstorm ($5.57 billion), Cyclone Tracey hitting Darwin in 1974 ($5.04 billion) and Cyclone Dinah in 1967 ($4.69 billion) cost insurers more, the Insurance Council of Australia said, using values normalised to 2017.

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Insurance premiums are being pushed up substantially in the wake of the disaster, with 216,465 damage claims made so far.

Karen Kiddy from Paddington in Brisbane said despite not being impacted by the floods, she was shocked to find her latest insurance bill had jumped more than $5000.

"The lady told me that every renewal now with Westpac has automatic flood cover," Kiddy said.

The ICA said climate change was increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, impacting the availability and affordability of insurance.

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"Insurance is a matter for the insurance companies and through the federal government," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

With flood events expected to become increasingly common due to climate change, all levels of government are now considering what can be done to mitigate future impacts.

The deployment of the military was considered a crucial aspect of the federal government's disaster response to the flood disaster, but Labor Senator Murray Watt said a more strategic approach was needed for the utilisation of troops.

"We want to take a good look at how much we rely on them and whether there are other ways we can make sure people get the support they need while not putting too much pressure on the Defence Force" Watt said.

But the premier and Brisbane's lord mayor, Adrian Schrinner, said the deployment of troops was crucial during Queensland's time of need.

"The army has a seat at the table and that's absolutely critical," the premier said.

Schrinner said the army provided a boost of hope for those struggling to clean their flooded homes and streets.

"When the Defence Force personnel turned up you could see it was a sense of relief," he said.

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