‘We’ve been dud­ded’: Costi­gan

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Sharon Small­wood sharon.small­wood@ whit­sun­day­times.com.au

WE’VE been dud­ded – by both sides of pol­i­tics, ac­cord­ing to Mem­ber for Whit­sun­day Ja­son Costi­gan.

Firstly, the Whitsundays missed out in the post-Cy­clone Deb­bie state bud­get, he says.

Specif­i­cally, Mr Costi­gan thinks the cy­clone high­lighted the im­por­tance of projects such as the flood-proof­ing of Hamilton and Goor­ganga Plains.

And in the af­ter­math he thinks money should have been com­mit­ted to re­build­ing a De­part­ment of Trans­port and Main Roads of­fice in Proser­pine and fix­ing the dev­as­ta­tion at Shute Har­bour.

“Here was an op­por­tu­nity for them to show that they ac­tu­ally care... but guess what – we got big fat zero,” he said.

“To me, we were dud­ded there. We were robbed. If there was one state bud­get that we were go­ing to get some love, it would have been right there and then.”

And to make things worse, there’s now the “furore go­ing on about Cat­e­gory D” fund­ing.

“And rightly so, be­cause now we’re be­ing dud­ded by Canberra,” Mr Costi­gan said.

Mr Costi­gan doesn’t pro­fess to know the “ins and outs” of the el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria for Cat­e­gory D fund­ing, which is one of the stick­ing points be­tween the Com­mon­wealth and State.

“But I would have thought Shute Har­bour, for ex­am­ple, (should meet the cri­te­ria),” he said.

Mr Costi­gan said he had only re­cently taken Sen­a­tor Matt Cana­van to Shute Har­bour to show him the im­pact of the cy­clone on a place that was once the sec­ond-busiest pas­sen­ger port in the coun­try.

On Fri­day, Mr Costi­gan drafted a let­ter to Aus­tralia’s Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull invit­ing him “to stand along­side my­self and other elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives at Shute Har­bour to an­nounce an ex­panded pack­age of dis­as­ter re­cov­ery pay­ments to help our com­mu­nity to get back on track”.

Here was an op­por­tu­nity to show that they ac­tu­ally care ... (and) we got big fat zero.

— Ja­son Costi­gan

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

CALL­ING IT: Whit­sun­day MP cy­clone-dam­aged Shute Har­bour. Ja­son Costi­gan at

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