CONSULTATION: Port Curtis landholder Matthew Neale studies the levee plan with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Mayor Margaret Strelow and RRC councillors Tony Williams, Drew Wickerson, Neil Fisher and Rose Swadling yesterday.
CONSULTATION: Port Curtis landholder Matthew Neale studies the levee plan with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry, Mayor Margaret Strelow and RRC councillors Tony Williams, Drew Wickerson, Neil Fisher and Rose Swadling yesterday. Christine McKee

Strelow hits back at Landry's levee landholder accusations

SUNDAY: ROCKHAMPTON Mayor Margaret Strelow responded to Ms Landry's comments, saying her claim council had not spoken to landholders was "a blatant and damaging untruth".

"We haven't begun formal compensation negotiations but we have been meeting and answering questions," she said.

"The landholder she particularly singled out is actually in the photo published with this story.

"On the morning of this photo we sat down and talked privately and at length. A further meeting was held with him and his wife on the 22nd May.

"Category D is where Townsville got the Strand. There is nothing in the rules to say Category D funding can't be new infrastructure."

The Morning Bulletin asked Ms Landry to confirm her stance on the landholders and negotiations in response and was told there was never a suggestion the South Rockhampton Flood Levee was eligible for Category D funding.

"The reality is that the project is nowhere near ready - the Environmental Impact Study has not even started, land acquisition and compensation discussions have not begun and the project has not even been approved by the State Government under their own planning legislation," Ms Landry said.

"I will continue to work with my colleagues to find the best solution and I hope that the Mayor chooses to do the right thing by the people who will bare the brunt of the residual impacts and risks. I have spoken directly to many of them, and it is only through media that they have heard of the proposed acquisitions.

"This is not the end of the road for flood mitigation.

"We will continue to find the best solution for protecting the airport and businesses on Gladstone Road and support responsible flood mitigation applications.

"The reality is that even with the South Rockhampton Levee there will still be significant clean up costs after a flood event and considerable residual risks.

"The engineers have been very clear about this and I think that explains why only 33% of the community support it."

However, Cr Strelow said it was likely an EIS would not be needed for the project, with final confirmation on that to come from the State Government.

 

Final alignment map for the South Rockhampton Flood Levee reveals exactly where will stay dry, and where potential water will be because of the levee.
Final alignment map for the South Rockhampton Flood Levee reveals exactly where will stay dry, and where potential water will be because of the levee. Rockhampton Regional Council

SATURDAY: A POLITICAL war of words has broken out between two Rockhampton politicians, as the city's proposed flood levee is left out of post-Cyclone Debbie disaster funding.

The South Rockhampton Flood Levee was included among the State Government's $135 million funding request for five council projects in areas hit hardest by the natural disaster.

However, the $60 million project was not funded by the Federal Government, which only approved $1.5 million of the state's council request.

A further $57.1 million was approved for betterment projects, environmental and economy recovery out of a $85 million request.

Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne said the federal "snub" was proof Capricornia MP Michelle Landry did not have the influence within her party to secure funding.

"In recent weeks her comments about the levee had been encouraging," he said.

"It looked like she would do a U-turn and declare her support for the project."

Mr Byrne said the State Government was disappointed in the $58.6 million in Category D funding approved by the Federal Government.

"We had requested $220 million to help communities damaged by Debbie," he said.

"In May the Palaszczuk Government committed to a $110 million share to help communities impacted by STC Debbie get back on their feet and rebuild stronger and more disaster resilient infrastructure - including the $60 million South Rockhampton Flood Levee.

"It is incredible that more than two months after receiving the request the Turnbull Government has now approved a total package of $58.6 million."

Under the Category D proposal, a relief package is funded by the State and Federal Government with a 50/50 split.

However, Ms Landry said the Federal Government had already this year already put $125 million into Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements funding.

"The Member for Rockhampton knows full well that new projects are not included in it (Category D)," she said.

"I have said that the levee bank would not be included in it.

"It is new funding and the State Government knows that there are different avenues they can use to apply for funding."

Ms Landry accused Mr Byrne and Rockhampton Regional Council of hypocrisy in failing to appropriately communicate with landholders whose properties may be acquired for the South Rockhampton Flood Levee.

"They're talking about land acquisitions for 33 properties, 13 landholders along that riverbank and how many have they talked to? Zero. They have talked to no one about it.

Ms Landry said owners affected had shared their concerns with her on several occasions.

"These people are people that have got properties in the area, they've agriculture, they've got properties on that area and they still don't know.

"We had one gentleman, a returned veteran, out there and he is very anxious about what's happening. His land is actually where the spillway is going.

"Who's been out to talk to him? No one.

"It is an absolute disgrace.

"So Bill Byrne had got a hide, accusing me of not supporting this area when they are doing this to these people."

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said this week negotiations with land owners would begin now the budget, with a $10 million allocation for the levee, had been approved.



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