Rain sparks new flood fears in Queensland

Last updated 15:52 19/02/2013
bUNDABERG COLLAPSE

GONE: Now you see it, now you don't. A sinkhole appeared at Midtown Marina in Bundaberg, causing the building to crumble.

Flooding at Wagga Wagga on March 5, 2012.
ANDREW MEARES/Fairfax Australia Zoom
Flooding at Wagga Wagga on March 5, 2012.

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Authorities fear a "sinkhole" in Australia's flood-ravaged city of Bundaberg could swallow as many as 10 businesses along the river, after already claiming one shop.

The latest deluge in the town has opened up a 20-metre "sinkhole'' on the banks of the Burnett River, swallowing part of the Midtown Marina in the central Queensland .

''The way it's happened is very frightening actually to see it collapse so quickly in such a large area,'' Mayor Mal Forman said.

''But I think if you look down there, there's more area that can fall away as well.''

Authorities are considering evacuating up to 10 businesses at risk.

Midtown Marina owner Jan Douglas said she came into work early because "a woman's intuition" told her something was going to happen.

When she arrived, she found the back half of her business was being held up by only a gate and, a few minutes later, it collapsed into the ground.

"It's a two-storey building, so it shows you how big that sink hole is," she told AAP.

Douglas said she had only finished rebuilding from the 2011 floods when this year's disaster hit.

Community Recovery and Resilience Minister David Crisafulli said the latest severe weather shouldn't stop the clean-up in the city, which was badly hit by the remnants of cyclone Oswald several weeks ago.

"There's no doubt we should always keep a watching brief on the weather, but that does not mean that it should let it dent our spirits," he told reporters in Bundaberg.

"We have got to keep rebuilding this place. We cannot stop."

Across Queensland, emergency crews have received 136 calls for help in 24 hours, mainly to fix leaky roofs, tarping and flood assistance.

Most of the jobs took place in the state's southeast.

Meanwhile in the Mary Valley, north of Brisbane, a minor flood warning has been issued, with 150mm of rain falling there since Monday morning.

Minor flood levels are being recorded at Gympie with further rises of up to 10 metres possible on Tuesday.

Mayor Ron Dyne has urged residents to put into place their severe weather plans, despite indications flood heights are already falling.

"But we're still advising people to be cautious," he said.

"While the heavy rain warning has been cancelled, a severe weather warning for gale force winds and dangerous surf along the coast is still in place and looks likely to continue into tomorrow."

Severe weather conditions, including gale force winds of about 100kmh, are expected across the southeast corner of Queensland.

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- AAP

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