$400k for a flood fix

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

WITH all the fan­fare and big ticket reef fund­ing an­nounce­ments made by the Palaszczuk La­bor Govern­ment when min­is­ters were in town last week, fund­ing for the pro­posed flood proof­ing of Shute Har­bour Rd at Hamil­ton Plains was de­liv­ered via a low-key road-side video.

In the lead up to the re-elec­tion of the Palaszczuk Govern­ment at the Novem­ber poll last year, the La­bor can­di­date for the seat of Whit­sun­day promised a “busi­ness case” for the flood proof­ing of the road.

Un­til last week, de­tails of the busi­ness case were kept un­der wraps by Trans­port and Main Roads Min­is­ter Mark Bai­ley.

On Fri­day, Mr Bai­ley said the govern­ment was “push­ing for­ward” with “in­ves­ti­gat­ing the best way to achieve” flood im­mu­nity at the no­to­ri­ous sec­tion of road.

Mr Bai­ley said the an­nounce­ment meant that plan­ning could kick-start in the next fi­nan­cial year (2018-19).

Stand­ing near Myr­tle Creek bridge last week, Mr Bai­ley said $400,000 had been com­mit­ted to do­ing the nec­es­sary plan­ing work.

“The op­tions anal­y­sis and busi­ness case will look at Myr­tle Creek in par­tic­u­lar, east of Hamil­ton Plains, as this lo­ca­tion cur­rently has a five year flood im­mu­nity," he said.

Mr Bai­ley had pre­vi­ously blamed the for­mer New­man LNP govern­ment of strip­ping $600 mil­lion from the trans­port bud­get.

Vo­cal cam­paigner for a flood fix at Hamil­ton Plains, the LNP mem­ber for Whit­sun­day Ja­son Costi­gan, was not sat­is­fied with the fund­ing.

“We don’t need $400,000 for some study or what­ever is an­nounced. We need prob­a­bly the best part of $40 mil­lion to up­grade the road at Hamil­ton Plains and ev­ery­one knows it,” he said.

“This was the grand op­por­tu­nity for the Palaszczuk La­bor Govern­ment to fi­nally suc­cumb to com­mu­nity pres­sure and do the right thing, that is, com­mit to fix­ing Hamil­ton Plains.”

Mr Costi­gan con­tin­ued to crit­i­cise Mr Bai­ley by say­ing he was “off his head” based on a con­sid­er­ably larger fund­ing pledge of $37 mil­lion made by LNP leader at the time, Tim Ni­cholls, in Septem­ber last year.

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