At least eight killed after flash floods batter Australia's east coast

People have been captured wading through the floodwaters in Lismore where thousands of locals have evacuated after days of unrelenting rain

At least eight people have been killed after intense rain and record-breaking floods wreaked havoc across Australia's east coast.

All the deaths - including of a 34-year-old man who tried to swim to safety when his car became immersed in floodwaters - have been in Queensland state, of which Brisbane is the capital.

The latest fatality was a man in his 50s who drowned on Monday after driving his car into floodwater before dawn at Gold Coast city, south of Brisbane, Queensland state police said.

Water floods streets and houses in Maryborough, Queensland. Credit: AP

Multiple emergency flood alerts have been issued for Brisbane's suburbs, where 2,145 homes and 2,356 businesses were submerged on Monday.

A severe storm system has seen roads and properties inundated with flood water across the eastern part of the country over the last several days.

Queensland emergency services have warned life-threatening flash flooding has occurred in parts of Gold Coast, a coastal city famed for its long, sandy beaches.

Emergency crews made more than 130 swift-water rescues in 24 hours, officials said.

Heavy rain has brought record flooding to some east coast areas. Credit: AP

But a search is continuing for a solo sailor, aged in his 70s, who fell overboard from his vessel in the Brisbane River near the city centre on Saturday. Police have also been searching for a man missing from Goodna, west of Brisbane and another from Esk, northwest of the city.

KFC has been among the businesses submerged by the intense rain. Credit: AP/AuBC

The flooding in Brisbane and its surrounding areas is the worst since 2011 when the city of 2.6 million people was inundated by what was described as a once-in-a-century event.

Speaking of the current flooding, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “It is still a significant event, and I think everyone would agree no one has seen this amount of rain in such a short period of time,” in the southeastern area.

People use a small boat to travel through flood water in Lismore, Australia. Credit: AP

Elsewhere, a river in the northern New South Wales town of Lismore has broken its banks and risen to 14.37m.

It came after days of unrelenting rain which prompted the evacuation of some 15,000 people.