Dar­win coun­cil re­veals fi­nal costs of dev­as­tat­ing cy­clone Mar­cus leaves $4m bill

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS -

Coun­cil Re­porter

TROP­I­CAL Cy­clone Mar­cus cost Dar­win coun­cil more than $17 mil­lion, with coun­cil left al­most $4 mil­lion out of pocket af­ter fi­nal in­sur­ance re­ceipts.

More than two years af­ter the cy­clone dev­as­tated the Top End, de­stroy­ing homes, rip­ping trees out of the ground and leav­ing many with­out power for days, coun­cil’s set­tle­ment has been fi­nalised with in­sur­ers TIO and the Nat­u­ral Disas­ter Re­lief and Re­cov­ery Ar­range­ments (NDRRA) fund.

“To­tal costs (ex­clud­ing $30,000 in­sur­ance ex­cess) as a re­sult of the March 17, 2018, storm were $17,343,987; $13,391,325 has been re­cov­ered,” the coun­cil re­port says.

“As a re­sult, coun­cil’s costs for this event to­talled $3,952,662.”

Two claims through the NDRRA cost a to­tal of more than $9 mil­lion, with $5 mil­lion re­cov­ered through the fund.

Coun­cil’s re­cov­ery ef­forts saw a five-month clean-up op­er­a­tion take place, be­fore a com­mit­ment to plant 5000 trees across the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Re­cov­ery ef­forts pri­ori­tised pub­lic safety and re­moval of de­bris from roads.

How­ever re­cov­ery ef­forts were briefly put on hold as costs blew out past in­sur­ance sub lim­its just a month af­ter re­cov­ery work be­gan.

“TIO’s in­sur­ance con­trac­tor MJ Builders com­menced work to as­sist coun­cil on April 3, 2018, and a stop work or­der was is­sued to TIO and MJ Builders (re­cov­ery ef­forts) on May 2, 2018,” the re­port says.

“The stop work or­der was is­sued in re­sponse to costs which had es­ca­lated be­yond coun­cil’s in­sur­ance sub lim­its in a very quick pe­riod of time. As at May 2, 2018, TIO re­moval of de­bris costs were es­ti­mated at around $5.5 mil­lion.”

Crit­i­cal and non crit­i­cal work also took place on coun­cil in­fra­struc­ture, verges, bol­lards and fenc­ing, and play­grounds.

Through ne­go­ti­a­tions coun­cil man­aged to save $60,000 through re­mov­ing dam­aged play­ground shades.

Dar­win coun­cil has since in­creased its disas­ter con­tin­gency re­serve in prepa­ra­tion for fu­ture dis­as­ters.

“The re­serve holds funds to as­sist with nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and coun­cil’s pol­icy re­quires that the min­i­mum bal­ance of $1 mil­lion be re­tained in this fund,” the re­port says.

“One mil­lion dol­lars of funds re­cov­ered from NDRRA has been added to this re­serve to in­crease the bal­ance of this re­serve to $2 mil­lion.”

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