KEY MEETING: Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey will host the director general of the Department of Local Government today.
KEY MEETING: Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey will host the director general of the Department of Local Government today. Mike Knott BUN200219JACK2

Mayor's plan to secure more flood mitigation for Bundaberg

BUNDABERG mayor Jack Dempsey expects to lobby for more flood mitigation projects when council staff meet with the Department of Local Government's director-general today.

Cr Dempsey invited departmental head Warren Agnew to Bundaberg, and as part of the meeting is expected to advocate the importance of demaining Quay St.

The Federal Government has offered $32 million towards the project under the $173 million Hinkler Regional Deal scheme, which was snubbed by the State Government in its budget released this week.

There is also a lack of new flood mitigation projects in the State Budget, according to local LNP State MPs.

Cr Dempsey was overly positive about what he described as a balanced budget during a press conference yesterday, but said that "time is running out” when it came to a 10-year flood mitigation plan.

He wanted to discuss projects with Mr Agnew that would give "peace of mind” to locals.

"We saw the devastation of 2010, 2011, and 2013, and people are still anxious and are worried about their homes, their livelihoods, and their loved ones, and in particular their effects of disasters and of flooding,” Cr Dempsey said.

"We would like to see the State Government around the table and show them the economic benefits and that Quay St fits into the flood action plan, and that is very important.

"That is why I asked the director-general and the person in charge of the particular project to come and visit.”

Cr Dempsey was not yet ready to reveal what projects the Bundaberg Regional Council would commit to in its upcoming budget due for release on Friday, June 21.

"Council likes to be on the front foot but we'd like to be able to see funding from both the State and Federal Government as well,” Cr Dempsey said.

Cr Dempsey had also discussed the Hinkler Regional Deal with Federal Member Keith Pitt yesterday and on how to gain the State Government's support.

Besides the Quay St bypass there was also the Central Business District rejuvenation and upgrades to the riverside, the RFDS flight simulator, and the new agriculture education unit at Central Queensland University.

"What we want to do is get the best outcome for those projects and also use the mechanism of the Hinkler Deal for other opportunities for the region going forward,” he said.

State Member for Bundaberg, David Batt, said flood funding for Bundaberg had been overlooked by treasurer Jackie Trad, who had discussed the importance of mitigating climate risks.

Rockhampton had receive more benefits for flood mitigation even though the city had submitted its application after Bundaberg had.

"We just want our fair share, we are not asking for any more,” Mr Batt said.

As for the Hinkler Regional Deal, the MP said it was a "game changer” and a significant outcome for the region if the State Government would support it.

Quay Street was owned by the State Government. It was not a project that could be taken over by the council or the Federal Government without state support.



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