Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchliffe visited Bundaberg today to formally announce a $42.5 million commitment for the Bundaberg East flood levee with Labor candidate Tom Smith and Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey. Photo: Geordi Offord
Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchliffe visited Bundaberg today to formally announce a $42.5 million commitment for the Bundaberg East flood levee with Labor candidate Tom Smith and Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey. Photo: Geordi Offord

MORE DETAILS: $42.5 million safeguard for Bundy flood zone

More than $42 million has been committed to a Bundaberg East flood levee should Annastacia Palaszczuk be re-elected on October 31.

Part of the 10-year flood action plan, the levee would help safeguard up to 600 buildings and properties in Bundaberg East, including the Bundaberg East State School and Meals on Wheels building.

Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchliffe visited Bundaberg on Tuesday to announce the commitment.

"When Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk came to Bundaberg as opposition leader after the 2013 floods, she sat down with residents, community leaders and business people to look at how we could make sure Bundaberg was more flood resilient into the future," he said.

"The result of that, when we came to office in 2015 was a 10-year flood action plan.

"This commitment of $42.5 million will lay the groundwork for that levee to go ahead."

Bundaberg Regional Council have committed to the ongoing maintenance and care of the levee, with the state now waiting for the Federal Government to come on board."

 

The levee will be part of the 10-year flood action plan in the Bundaberg region. Photo: Geordi Offord
The levee will be part of the 10-year flood action plan in the Bundaberg region. Photo: Geordi Offord

 

"This flood levee will not only deliver 679 jobs in its construction … it will also lay the ground work for future investment in this city," Mr Hinchliffe said.

Labor candidate for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the levee was a "game changing" announcement for Bundaberg.

"We've seen the Palaszczuk Labor Government has kept Queenslanders safe during the Covid-19 crisis, now we're seeing through this commitment the people of Bundaberg will be safe now and into the future as well," he said.

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said the announcement was about jobs, growth and safety of residents.

"We had the devastation of 2013 which impacted on over 7000 homes and this particular levee means the safety and security of over two and a half thousand residents," he said.

"Where we are standing (at Bundaberg East State School) we would be a foot under water already."

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said he hadn't received any requests from the Labor Party to commit funding for the levee.

"If Premier Palaszczuk and Mayor Dempsey want to build a wall, they should be Paradise Dam. It is the wall that is most desperately needed by our community," he said.

"We haven't had a request, I certainly haven't had any contact with the state government asking the Federal Government to provide support. Our focus will be on Paradise, our focus will be on driving jobs.

"This is clearly a matter for the state and local government, it's been seven years - it is too little and it is too late."

 

Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said he had not received any requests for support from the state government for the flood levee.
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said he had not received any requests for support from the state government for the flood levee.

 

LNP incumbent Bundaberg MP David Batt said the levee was something government could have committed to before they went into caretaker mode.

He said it was "disappointing" to see the levee as a political promise during the election campaign.

"For the last five years they've talked about flood proofing Bundaberg," he said.

"They promised 'boots on the ground to flood proof Bundaberg' in 2017 and nothing has happened.  

"A Bundaberg East Levee would protect hundreds of home and businesses in the Bundaberg East and South suburbs but there are concerns it could negatively impact those on the river side of the wall and does nothing for Bundaberg North residents.  

"I've been asking the Minister and the Department for a briefing so I can contribute local views to the process - but the door has been slammed in my face."  

LNP incumbent David Batt.
LNP incumbent David Batt.

 

Mr Hinchliffe said while the levee would protect thousands of residents in Bundaberg East and in Bundaberg South, it would not put residents living close to the river side of the wall at any greater risk.

"We don't want to forget and can't forget about them, but this doesn't put them in any worse situation than they currently are," he said.

"All of the modelling demonstrates there would not be any worse impacts, of course we would open to submissions made by any number of people as I'm sure the council would be in a partner in this process."



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