Time to rise above flood

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Peter Car­ruthers peter.car­ruthers@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

THE par­tially flooded sec­tion of Shute Har­bour Road at Hamil­ton Plains on Satur­day has bought the promised pre-elec­tion flood fix “busi­ness case” made by the La­bor can­di­date for Whit­sun­day Bron­wyn Taha to the fore.

In Oc­to­ber last year Ms Taha said “the num­ber one pri­or­ity this elec­tion is to up­grade Hamil­ton Plains” and though she didn’t win the seat of Whit­sun­day, the Palaszczuk La­bor Gov­ern­ment was re­stored to power but the prom­ise in “de­vel­op­ing a busi­ness case to make sure this road is up­graded” is yet to ma­te­ri­alise.

Mem­ber for Whit­sun­day Ja­son Costi­gan braved the wet on Shute Har­bour Rd to doc­u­ment yet an­other flood­ing of the no­to­ri­ous sec­tion of road.

He is “hold­ing the La­bor Gov­ern­ment to ac­count” and in a Notice on Ques­tion to the Min­is­ter for Trans­port and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, Mr Costi­gan de­manded to know “why the Palaszczuk La­bor Gov­ern­ment has failed to meet its own dead­line in pro­duc­ing a ‘busi­ness case’ for an up­grade to flood-prone Shute Har­bour Road at Hamil­ton Plains by the end of 2017”.

Mr Bailey re­sponded by “not ac­cept­ing” the premise of Mr Costi­gan’s ques­tion be­fore say­ing “the busi­ness case has been de­vel­oped which has iden­ti­fied the pre­ferred project op­tion for an up­grade to the Proser­pine–Shute Har­bour Road at Hamil­ton Plains”.

Mr Bailey went on to blame the for­mer LNP gov­ern­ment – in power be­fore An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk was elected in 2015 – of strip­ping $600 mil­lion from the trans­port bud­get.

“(Which) re­sulted in a short­fall in project plan­ning and de­liv­ery that the Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment is still work­ing to re­pair,” he said.

Mr Costi­gan ac­cused Mr Bailey of a “wishy washy” re­sponse to his ques­tion.

“There is no ap­petite from the Palaszczuk La­bor gov­ern­ment to fix this as a pri­or­ity,” he said.

“All the peo­ple want is a bet­ter road and so do I,” he said.

Mr Costi­gan said there were some who ar­gued that rais­ing of the Shute Har­bour Rd cross­ing of Myr­tle Creek should be in­cluded in the promised “busi­ness case”.

On Satur­day, af­ter the north-bound lane of Shute Har­bour Rd had gone un­der wa­ter, the flood­wa­ter was about a me­tre un­der the bridge at Myr­tle Creek.

The LNP made a pre-elec­tion com­mit­ment of $37 mil­lion to flood-proof Hamil­ton Plains.

PHOTO: PETER CAR­RUTHERS

FLOOD FIX: Ja­son Costi­gan MP wants to know why the State Gov­ern­ment has not re­leased a promised “busi­ness case” on the on-go­ing flood­ing prob­lem at Hamil­ton Plains.

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