Home Buy-back Scheme Rolls Out In Oxley, Rocklea

Floods at Sherwood Rd, Rocklea (Photo credit: Energex/Facebook)

Homeowners in Rocklea and Oxley, whose properties were badly impacted by the devastating floods last February, will be among the first ones to take part in Brisbane’s property buy-back scheme.

Read: Bunnings Plans To Rebuild Oxley Store With Flood-resilient Features

This comes after the city received the first $50 million payment from the State Government through its Voluntary Home Buy-back Program (VHBP).

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In a buy-back scheme like VHBP, homeowners willingly sell their properties to the government, who will consider reusing the land for purposes other than residential. Applicants undergo assessment based on certain eligibility criteria and rules.

Council identifies eligible houses for the scheme and prioritises which properties will be purchased based on the predicted frequency and depth of future flooding. 

Aftermath of February 2022 severe weather event (Photo credit: Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner)

For the first round of its buy-back scheme, Brisbane City Council is currently in talks with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA), who will help with negotiations to buy back homes of the 16 successful applicants.

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So far, authorities have received only 171 applications for buyback in the local government area–which is just a fraction of the 23,000 properties in Brisbane that were flooded this year.

The Brisbane Flood Review 2022, authored by Paul de Jersey, AC, highlighted that in some areas, rather than surrender their houses, some residents have preferred to raise their homes beyond flood levels. 

“Respondents reported that some locals who had lifted their homes after 2011 were protected from flooding. Some, however, despite raising their homes still suffered inundation of the upper levels or were inundated for the first time during the 2022 event,” Mr de Jersey wrote.

“There are suggestions that Council should conduct a review of the existing planning laws to provide a streamlined process for planning applications to mitigate flooding.” 

Meanwhile, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner understands it’s just one suite of many responses to natural disasters and floods Brisbane can use and should not be seen as some kind of a silver bullet.

Cr Schrinner said Council would come to an agreement with property owners and assured that the process will be completed as quickly as possible. Council is looking to make official offers this September and finalise the acquisitions by December 2022. 

Read: Western Districts Netball Association Club, Other Flood-Impacted Sporting Clubs to Receive Flood Recovery Funding

Aside from homeowners in Rocklea and Oxley, those who are in Windsor, Clayfield, Herston, Boondall, Yeerongpilly, Archerfield, and Carina will benefit in the first round of funding.