The man in charge of rebuilding Queensland after the double onslaught of Cyclone Yasi and last month's floods, says recovery could take several years.
But Major General Mick Slater says good planning prevented a more serious catastrophe.
"Preparations led by the emergency services and implemented by local governments throughout the state prevented potentially an enormous loss of life.
"They have also mitigated a lot more infrastructure and property damage by the preparations they've done," he said.
He says the recovery efforts from both disasters could take several years and that rebuilding work can only begin when there is safe access to the devastated towns.
Major General Slater told ABC's Lateline that people need to be patient.
"We can't start the rebuild or even the restoration at this stage in many areas because we're having difficulty gaining access," he said.
"The Bruce Highway has been severely damaged in a number of places.
"There are some towns that will still take two or three days before we can get vehicle traffic in there," he said.
The ABC reports at least 150,000 properties in Queensland still do not have power.