Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Rockhampton.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Rockhampton.

Premier visits Biloela as clean-up continues

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Biloela yesterday to help open a recovery hub in the cyclone-ravaged town.

Her visit also came with a strong message for Rockhampton and Yeppoon residents - stay away from powerlines.

"We've had reports of people wanting to go and pick up wires that are lying across the streets," Ms Palaszczuk said yesterday.

"Please can I just stress to everyone do not go and touch the wires lying around on the streets, leave that to the experts."

Almost 1000 Ergon and Energex staff have been sent to the region to help restore power to about 69,000 homes.

About 1800 powerlines fell during the cyclone and while many areas have been restored, Ergon chief executive officer Ian McLeod said the biggest challenge was getting the sub-transmission network back on.

"This is unique to this cyclone," he said.

"Usually we come through these events with a robust sub-transmission network.

"In this case, we've lost quite a bit of that."

Mr McLeod also said Ergon would try to install generators in isolated communities including Biloela and Byfield, where it was expected to take longer to restore the power network.

Recovery hubs have been set up in Rockhampton and Yeppoon and now Biloela.

Ms Palaszczuk said she wanted to visit Biloela to find out first-hand what was needed on the ground.

She also said 3300 damage assessments had been carried out so far in the region.

About 1000 of these were structural damages.

She also said about 350 homes were too damaged and residents could not return to them.

"We know families are going through hardships at the moment, it's not easy losing your home, it's not easy losing your possessions," Ms Palaszczuk said.

She also said counselling would be offered as part of the cyclone recovery process.

It is also hoped all schools will return to normal by Friday.