Residents in Australia’s third largest city, Brisbane, sandbagged their homes against rising waters on Monday as torrential rain worsened floods that have paralysed the coal industry in the northeast and now threaten tourism.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the cost of the floods would not delay a return to budget surplus in 2012-13, but J.P. Morgan predicted the disaster would crimp growth this year and could delay another increase in interest rates.
The worst floods in 50 years have at times covered an area the size of France and Germany combined in Queensland state. Six people have been killed while dozens of towns have been isolated or partially submerged. More monsoon rains are expected all week.