Local Federal Member to Take the Fight to Canberra


Federal member for Dawson George Christensen says he’s planning to head to Canberra with local Mayors to try and get some sense into the Federal Government’s Disaster Relief package which has fallen far short of what State and local authorities were chasing in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.


A $220 million-dollar Recovery Package had been strategized by the State Government, Whitsunday, Mackay, Isaac and Rockhampton Councils.


Under Category D disaster relief, National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements should mean $110million from the Federal Government.


However the Federal contribution announced late Friday afternoon falls way short of that figure at a total of $29 million.


Mr Christensen says he’s ‘gutted’ by the decision from Canberra and says the situation was ‘a dog’s breakfast’ with varying levels of understanding of what is and isn’t covered by Category D funding.


“I accept there is some reasons that has been given. I’ve been told that there are inconsistencies in the amount of funding requested by the State Government and the amount of damage noted and unanswered questions about insurance on the facility.”


“I want to go down there to Canberra with the mayors and try and salvage the funding for worthy projects that didn’t meet the testing here.”


The funding sought by the Queensland and local governments included a $135million Whitsunday Coast Airport upgrade, Shute Harbour upgrade and Airlie Beach Revitalization but the federal announcement sees no commonwealth funding for those projects and also rules out the Bluewater Trail and Queens Park upgrade, Shute Harbour or South Rockhampton Flood Levee.


What is funded is the Airlie Beach lagoon ($500,000 to fix pumps) and the Airlie Beach foreshore ($350,000 for landscaping and to repair infrastructure including park benches); and the Bluewater Trail in Mackay ($660,000 for that restoration work). There’s also $15million in the Environment Package now approved as well as $40million of the $60million Betterment Fund and $2.1million for Industry Recovery Officers.


The Environment Package funds will be used to repair Lambert’s Beach and Midge Point foreshores.