Fed Gov't disaster relief cuts to hit Rockhampton ratepayers

THE hammer will fall hard on Rockhampton ratepayers if the Australian Government tightens its flood damage repair purse strings.

Deputy Mayor and disaster management group chairman Tony Williams yesterday aired his concerns about several Federal Government proposals to drop the amount of funding it offers for disaster damage and recovery from 80% to 33%.

"Those changes will have a huge impact not only on larger councils but also regional councils too," Cr Williams said.

"If this happens, the funding for disaster relief will have to fall back onto ratepayers.

"We haven't got disaster relief funding allocated in our budgets. If a flood or other natural disaster struck and caused damage, we wouldn't be able to afford the bill.

"The damage done at the Capricorn Coast was phenomenal in the last flood. We simply can't be targeting our residents this harshly."

The Australian Government's productivity commission recently suggested that about 33% should come from a federal level, and that local and state governments should share the balance.

Mayor Margaret Strelow said the council forked out about $2 million after the last two floods.

She said if the Federal Government reduced the amount it contributed, the council would essentially have to pay about $20 million out of rates.



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