Brisbane’s economic community has been at pains to stress that it is back in business following floods that devastated many parts of the city and captured global headlines in January.
Most of the Australian city’s major businesses have already resumed operations and Brisbane should expect to see economic growth through rebuilding as a result of the floods, city officials said.
Brisbane Marketing, the city’s development agency, has released figures showing that of the $1.36bn in investment projects that the agency attracted from July 1, 2007, to the present, 91% of those businesses were not directly affected by the floods. The 9% affected were predominantly in the manufacturing and logistics industries and the tourism infrastructure sector.
Brisbane’s lord mayor, Campbell Newman, told fDi Magazine that there has never been a more important time to assure business and industry that Brisbane is back in business.
“An active business and industry sector is an extremely important part of the rebuilding process of the city,” he said. “Despite the challenge of the recent floods, the council expects to see the Brisbane economy stimulated, particularly in the construction and building sector.”
Mr Newman reassured fDi that he has “no doubt that, thanks to Brisbane’s diverse economy, the city will experience a speedy economic recovery”.
According to industry forecaster IBISWorld, while the floods are expected to have a negative short-term effect on Brisbane's economic growth as a result of the temporary suspension of and interruption to business, from April 2011 onwards there will be a boost to economic growth through rebuilding, which is expected to last until 2012-13 and involve spending of $10bn.
Major infrastructure in the city fared well in the flood crisis, with Brisbane Airport remaining open, all major roads reopened and the Port of Brisbane progressively reopening, which means that all-important transport links are secure.
The director of investment attraction at Brisbane Marketing, Daniel Havas, predicted that there would be continued investment in infrastructure now and in the future.
“Brisbane’s infrastructure prospects have driven much of the city’s economic growth in the past 12 months and they will be supplemented by the rebuilding programmes,” said Mr Havas.
The construction sector is expected to boom as infrastructure and property is repaired, including roads, railways, bridges, ferries, houses, businesses, energy facilities and sewerage networks.
A 90-day economic recovery plan is being drawn up to assess the economic impact of the floods and co-ordinate recovery strategies.