Construction workers are set to be busy rebuilding flood-ravaged Queensland.
While thousands have experienced devastating losses, others will inevitably benefit from the floods that have decimated Queensland.
The tragedy, which is expected to cost at least $6 billion and postpone a return to a budget surplus by 2015/16, is a crushing blow to industries such as agriculture, mining and tourism.
Stores that lost six months worth of stock [in the floods] will see three years turnover in the next few months, so they're going to do well.
However, Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry president David Goodwin said it may be the saviour of many businesses, particularly in the construction sector, which had been suffering from the global financial crisis and wet weather.
The most striking photos of the floods
The flooded Brisbane River spills into residential areas close to the CBD. Photo: REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
Engineers, equipment and hire companies, and retail outlets are expected to do well, with short-term gains for laundromats and car washes.
Mr Goodwin said while there had been compassion for flood victims, businesses would have to start charging soon if they had not already.
“[Businesses have already] been badly hit by the GFC and government charges and taxes rising,” he said.
“They haven't been doing as well in Queensland as the rest of the country so they're going to need to charge for their services.”
Mr Goodwin called on employees to donate a few hours' extra work to cover for colleagues directly affected by the floods.
“What we're encouraging is [for employees] to take that [clean-up] volunteering spirit to work,” he said.
“Some are going to need to work harder because others are taking care of their homes.”
As regions from Rockhampton to the NSW border work to rebuild infrastructure, the construction sector would undoubtedly gain the most, benefitting builders, engineers, all manner of tradespeople, suppliers and fence installers.
Extensive work is required to fix essential roads, bridges and railways, and hundreds of thousands of homes and other buildings.
Construction had been wrecked by lack of demand and wet weather, Mr Goodwin said.
“They've had equipment on sites for months but [because of wet weather] progress payments are not going to be received,” he said.
Mr Goodwin said engineering services would be in high demand with much of the damaged infrastructure decades old and requiring new engineering work.
There also would be increased demand for hire and equipment companies that stocked items such as generators, industrial cleaning equipment, heaving moving vehicles, trucks, road surfacing machines and dump trucks.
Mr Goodwin said an increase in customers at some restaurants and cafes during the initial flood crisis was likely to significantly decline as victims faced the economic toll of restarting their lives.
But as residents began to refurbish their homes, retail outlets from clothing and bedding to white goods and cars would boom.
“People are going to buy fridges, washing machines and household bulky goods,” he said.
“Stores that lost six months worth of stock [in the floods] will see three years turnover in the next few months, so they're going to do well.”
However, overall the business industry would suffer.
“The business industry is going to be badly hit. There will be the winners, there's no question about it, but ... there will be a net loss,” Mr Goodwin said.