The levy to rebuild flood-ravaged Queensland is mutating into a leadership test for Prime Minister Julia Gillard, amid opposition calls for the rural independent MPs to switch camps.

The federal Government has announced a one-off flood levy on taxpayers earning more than $50,000, to help cover the repair bill for damaged roads, bridges, railway tracks and schools in Queensland.

But the levy has generated heated debate across Australia.

Yesterday Treasurer Wayne Swan took the Government's sales pitch on the road, visiting the flood-hit Ipswich suburb of Goodna.

"Six out of 10 Australians will pay less than a $1 a week for the flood levy," he said.

"If you are on $80,000 it's $2.80, less than the cost of a cup of coffee. The reconstruction doesn't stop at the front gate of the flooded house, it has to extend to the community infrastructure, that's why the need is great."

Meanwhile, opposition leader Tony Abbott was on the Gold Coast urging the rural independent MPs, who hold the balance of power in the hung Parliament, to ditch their support for the Gillard Government over the flood levy.

In a speech to the Young Liberals convention, Abbott accused Gillard of using the floods to mask her Government's "spending addiction."

"A prime minister who's unconvincing when responding to a natural disaster is unlikely to solve the much more politically and administratively complex problems that she had previously set herself to fix," Abbott said.

"Like the global financial crisis under Kevin Rudd, the Government could use the floods as a justification for its spending addiction and as a licensed distraction from actually delivering on its promises."

Abbott said Gillard will face a voter backlash.

"The Prime Minister is pitching it as a mateship tax even though mateship is about helping people, not taxing them.

"Mates choose to help; they're not coerced. Mateship comes from people, not from Government. People resent being ordered to pay what they'd gladly give of their own volition, especially by a Government so reckless with taxpayers' money."

Swan hit back, accusing Abbott of putting his own political ambitions first.

"As we work to rebuild infrastructure and homes, the only home Mr Abbott has his eye on is The Lodge, and I think frankly that's disgusting. Communities have been shattered; there's been enormous loss of life."