It would be fantastic if Queensland’s flood prone towns and cities could be protected for $50 million, says Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt.
“Unfortunately it would also be a miracle and sadly Local Government Minister David Crisafulli is no miracle worker, “ said Mr Pitt in a warning to flood-prone communities not to raise their hopes that the Newman Government was about to solve their problems.
“Mr Crisafulli has been suggesting that his $50 million plan will be a game changer, but it’s just another Newman Government con because $50 million will not pay for the levees being proposed for Rockhampton and Gympie, let alone what would be needed to flood-proof Bundaberg or Toowoomba or Gladstone or Cairns.
“In fact if you read the fine print of what Mr Crisafulli has said this week, the $50 million he has announced to construct flood defences across Queensland will come from existing grant programs like Royalties for Regions. The Government isn’t serious enough on this issue to commit a cent of new money.”
“So it’s a trick. If, for example, Rockhampton Regional Council wants to proceed with the proposal to build a $39 million levee to protect Depot Hill will Mr Crisafulli provide the funds or will the Council have to go into debt?
“The Minister has admitted some of the projects in his plan will require considerable federal contributions not yet sourced and he is yet to explain if the $50 million is a one-off commitment or will be recurring.”
Mr Pitt said the Opposition would welcome any genuine commitment from the Government to tackle flooding problems and continue the efforts started under the previous Labor administration, but so far Mr Crisafulli had committed no additional funding.
“For the Newman Government to imply the previous Bligh Labor Government did not act on flood mitigation is another deception.
“It was the Bligh Government that established the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. Prior to the 2013 disasters the Newman Government nearly wound up the authority by accident and cut staffing and funding”.
“The Newman Government also did not hold a single meeting of the Disaster Recovery Cabinet Committee until after the disaster events of early 2013 and dropped the ball on reconstruction and betterment”. “To then go out and blame the Federal Government for these failings is symptomatic of the point and blame Newman Government”.
“In Government, Labor launched the biggest floodplain mapping project in the State’s history and compiled and released the most detailed online flood mapping in the nation,” he said.
“The former Government invested $13.2 million into a levy for Charleville that has since protected the town from flooding. It also provided $12.7 million for flood mitigation projects in Western Queensland including $3.1 million at Balonne to work on the levy around St George and $4.7 million to Maranoa Council to help protect Roma.
“And it committed in a 50/50 deal with the Commonwealth to deliver $23.3 million towards flood proofing Toowoomba CBD.”