The Burnett River rises in January.
The Burnett River rises in January. File

No funds for flood flow here

BUNDABERG and North Burnett regional councils have missed out on flood recovery funding to help install river and rain gauges.

This is despite 12 councils receiving the funding - including Gladstone Regional Council, which experienced minimal flooding but received $415,000 of the $3.2 million doled out.

Better river monitoring equipment was just one of the preliminary recommendations made in the Floods Commission of Inquiry Interim Report, but the Local Government Association of Queensland warned many councils would not be able to afford them.

A furious North Burnett Mayor Joy Jensen said if her council had been aware of the funding scheme, they would have applied for some money.

"We have pushed and pushed to get some river gauging out here," she said.

"The Burnett is a river that we do not know much about."

Cr Jensen said the lack of river gauges during the Christmas floods meant predictions were being done the old-fashioned way.

"We were basically calling the Bundaberg council and telling them there was a lot of water on the way," she said.

Bundaberg Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said the council had

understood the funding would be on a 50/50 arrangement.

Cr Pyefinch said the council would instead apply for funding through different schemes for river monitoring systems.

A spokesman for local government minister Paul Lucas claimed councils had each been sent a letter about the available funding.

The funding was also announced in the second last paragraph in a press release of more than 700 words.

"I have now directed the Deputy Premier to reserve up to $5 million out of the Local Government Grants and Subsidies program to allow vulnerable councils to apply for assistance on a co-contribution basis for purchase of equipment and items such as warning and alert systems and river monitoring gauges," Premier Anna Bligh said at the time.

Cr Pyefinch said the council had opted not to apply as it was understood the funding would be on the condition of a 50% co-contribution.

"We have been successful in getting a $150,000 grant and we will be able to use some of that for the gauges," she said.

Cr Pyefinch said the council also planned to apply for the National Disaster Resilience Program early in the new year.

And she said the council had been talking to the Bureau of Meteorology about the best location for gauges.

"There is a local company which has been looking at that," she said.

"They can take photographs with the gauges."

Cr Pyefinch said due to broken gauges during the floods, the council was often relying on information coming from the North Burnett council as to how high the water levels would be.

"Historically we use the Walla gauge because that gives us about 12 hours to do any evacuations we need to," she said.



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