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