Mayors of communities devastated by Severe Tropical Cyclone Debbie and the Palaszczuk Government have called for Turnbull Government Ministers to visit the affected areas after Canberra refused to fully fund disaster assistance.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called a meeting of Mayors from Whitsunday, Mackay, Rockhampton and the Local Government Association of Queensland after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull approved only $29.3 million of the $110 million last Friday.
“My Government committed $110 million for recovery and reconstruction projects that we identified with local councils. I have reaffirmed my Government’s commitment to $110 million for these projects,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Mr Turnbull wrote to the Premier to deny full Federal Government assistance on 13 July, stating:
“Unfortunately, the remaining projects proposed are not suitable for funding as they fall outside of the scope of the NDRRA or because there has not been enough evidence provided to establish the need for the measure. This includes the request for the construction of a levee in Rockhampton”.
In meeting – also attended by Deputy Premier and the Minister responsible for Queensland Reconstruction Authority Jackie Trad and Minister for Agriculture Bill Byrne – Mayor of Whitsunday Regional Council Andrew Willcox, Mayor of Mackay Regional Council Greg Williamson, and Mayor of Rockhampton Regional Council Margaret Strelow called on Turnbull Government Ministers to visit the region.
Mayor Willcox said:
“We were the hardest hit through the Cyclone and to hear from the Federal Government that it’s “OK” is flabbergasting. The residents of the Whitsundays are at fever pitch.”
Mayor Williamson said:
“To say there is no damage is outright lies. The community has got to pay for the damage somehow. Nobody can believe the Feds would play this game at this stage.”
Mayor Strelow said:
“We have had four floods in 10 years. Building the levee not only protects Depot Hill and Port Curtis, 3000 jobs, two State schools, it actually keeps the Bruce Highway dry.”
Photo: Local Government Association of Queensland Chief Executive Officer Greg Hallam, Mayor of Rockhampton Margaret Strelow, Minister for Agriculture and Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, Mayor of Mackay Greg Williamson Mayor of Whitsunday Andrew Willcox and Mackay Regional Council Chief Executive Officer