The Hon. ROBERT BORSAK:
My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services. As much of regional and rural New South Wales is currently flood affected, what insurance does the Government have in place to rebuild vital government infrastructure, particularly rural roads and bridges? If there is no insurance in place, and given the fact that more than 40 local government areas are already affected, how long will it take the Government to start addressing this repair work, and what will be the priority projects, given that most of the work will need to be done as a matter of urgency?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE:
I thank the member for his important question. The Government already is addressing the significant issues that we see going forward. For example, in the portfolio of my colleague the Minister for Roads and Ports, a preliminary estimate done earlier this week was in the order of $500 million for road repairs. That is just one portfolio area. Funding for these disasters comes from several sources. Obviously, the Federal Government stumps up. We will be seeking Federal funding to assist with these recovery measures. Governments of both persuasions obviously have worked in this space and take it very seriously. We have a series of different potential funding mechanisms. We have some actual insurance with international and large insurance companies—basically, reinsurance. We have the State's own self-insurance funding. We will have to look at supplementary funding through the budget for some of the work that will be required.
But a large part of the funding also comes through local government, and we will be working with local government to ensure it is assisted as much as possible in dealing with the very large tasks. To give an example of the sorts of issues we are looking at, one of the options for some regional areas is to give the private sector a greater role in doing some of the heavy work, because this sector has the necessary equipment and so on. We are already talking with WorkCover about how to ensure that private sector corporations are able to get in and do some of this public sector work. This is a very important question, and the member can rest assured that the Government is taking it very seriously. We are working with local government, and we will be working with the Federal Government to ensure this work is done as quickly as possible.