Australia government weighs levy for flood damage

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VOV News English - 49 month(s) ago 4 readings

Australia government weighs levy for flood damage

Australia's government is reportedly considering a taxpayer levy to help pay for massive flood rebuilding, while preserving the budget's path back to surplus in 2012-13, as one major bank warned on January 18 the damage bill could reach AU$20 billion. A levy could take the form of an addition to the 1.5 percent Medicare levy backing public health and hospitals, and which raises AU$10 billion a year, the Australian newspaper said, without naming sources. Flooding blamed on rains triggered by a La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific has devastated huge areas of Australia's eastern seaboard, flooded parts of Brisbane, the nation's third-largest city, shut vital coal mines and rail lines, and destroyed crops. Rebuilding estimates from banks and economists have mostly ranged from around AU$3 billion to AU$10 billion, but illustrating the uncertainty ANZ bank warned it could come in at close to double that when floodwaters subsided and the full scale of the devastation became clear. A spokesman for Treasurer Wayne Swan said it was too early to speculate how the government would assist flood stricken communities, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government's obligations to help Queensland would be part of the planning for the 2011-12 budget, to be unveiled on May 10. The floods, which have so far killed 24 people with 12 still missing, have been blamed on the strongest ever recorded La Nina, which brought Australia its third wettest year on record in 2010, covering an area the size of South Africa. Reuters

A levy could take the form of an addition to the 1.5 percent Medicare levy backing public health and hospitals, and which raises AU$10 billion a year, the Australian newspaper said, without naming sources.

Flooding blamed on rains triggered by a La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific has devastated huge areas of Australia's eastern seaboard, flooded parts of Brisbane, the nation's third-largest city, shut vital coal mines and rail lines, and destroyed crops.

Rebuilding estimates from banks and economists have mostly ranged from around AU$3 billion to AU$10 billion, but illustrating the uncertainty ANZ bank warned it could come in at close to double that when floodwaters subsided and the full scale of the devastation became clear.

A spokesman for Treasurer Wayne Swan said it was too early to speculate how the government would assist flood stricken communities, but Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government's obligations to help Queensland would be part of the planning for the 2011-12 budget, to be unveiled on May 10.

The floods, which have so far killed 24 people with 12 still missing, have been blamed on the strongest ever recorded La Nina, which brought Australia its third wettest year on record in 2010, covering an area the size of South Africa.

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