News

I'm a political pawn: Grazier claims levee queries unanswered

LEVEE FEARS: 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.
LEVEE FEARS: 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. Christine McKee

PORT Curtis grazier Matthew Neale has spoken out amidst a "tit-for-tat" war of words over the South Rockhampton Flood Levee.

Yesterday, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry issued a lengthy, detailed release which outlined her position on the $60 million flood mitigation project, which claimed it would be "irresponsible" to fund it in its current state and until adequate consultation with landowners had taken place.

Ms Landry said she had the full support of both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to help find the appropriate funding channel when the project meets "minimum legislative requirements", and she remained committed to finding the "best possible solution".

Mr Neale's agricultural investment, his livelihood, is among the 28-plus properties identified for acquisition in the Environmental Summary Report.

As his future remains uncertain, and his questions unanswered, Mr Neale said he is starting to feel like a "pawn" in a political game.

Mr Neale claims he first initiated contact with the Rockhampton Regional Council when a neighbour alerted him to a media opportunity nearby in May; Ms Landry's office contacted him afterwards.

He was then invited to a meet with councillor Rose Swadling and engineers, but claims despite their promises, he never received the detailed plans which outlined the impact on his property.

 

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

"Nobody is able to give me an answer about my property, about what plans are in place or what right I have over my own land, let alone the loss of income," he said.

"I am devastated and appalled - if they have budgeted for land acquisitions as informed during the forum, then they must know what they are going to offer landholders. Why aren't they telling us?"

Despite owning a residential Depot Hill property within the levee boundary, Mr Neale opposes the project.

He purchased the land because it was ideal for running cattle, and floods brought natural nutrients to his property.

He said should land acquisitions be the way forward, he was not confident council would pay "top dollar" for his property, which he conceded held low land value.

"It's what the land makes for me business wise, and that's where we will get hurt I believe if they go through with it," he said.

Mr Neale said he was at a loss as to how he would continue cattle operations with a 25m wide, 400m wall just outside the property and culverts running through his land.

"It's detail that I haven't received, and the detail is how are they going to dig up my property? And if they do do that am I still able to run cattle?" he asked.

"When you look at the maps they send ... there's no detail.

"What about the Port Curtis area, my catchment area. How are they going to run the culverts through?"

Mayor Margaret Strelow assured Mr Neale would get his answers, but accused Ms Landry of "changing the topic".

"The allegation that I refuted was the following: 'Who's been out to talk to him? No one. It is an absolute disgrace'," Cr Strelow said.

"Even her own release proves the lie in this statement.

"She needs to apologise or to correct her statement.

"I am not willing to use Mr Neale as a pawn in what is obviously now a political argument.

"We will contact Mr Neale directly now that the additional survey that we commissioned to allow us to answer his questions has been completed."

Topics:  agriculture capricornia flood flood mitigation funding margaret strelow michelle landry rockhampton flood rockhampton regional council south rockhampton flood levee



Chief Justice: ‘Bloodlust’ fuelled savage Rocky killing

FATAL STABBING: Rockhampton man Aaron Flenady died after receiving stab wounds.

UPDATE: He was ‘vulnerable and harmless’ when attacked.

What's on around the sporting grounds this weekend

Lyn Kelly in action at the Paradise Lagoons Campdraft, which runs until Sunday.

Paradise Lagoons Campdraft headlines big weekend of sport

What's on across Rocky and the Capricorn Coast this weekend

PARADISE LAGOONS: Evan Acton mid campdraft. The Paradise Lagoons campdraft will wrap up on Sunday.

Plenty of variety in the types of activities on this weekend

Local Partners

Maggie's whirlwind trip around Japan

Cooking icon serves up the best of Japanese cuisine and shows you how to make it at home in her new TV special.

Exploring our complex relationship with the Southern Cross

Warwick Thornton in a scene from his documentary film We Don't Need A Map.

Filmmaker Warwick Thornton explores national identity, nationalism.

Ben will be cooking with Oma

Masterchef 2017 contestant Ben Ungermann.

MASTERCHEF'S last man standing will draw on his Dutch heritage.

Prince Charles and Camilla heading for Qld

Prince Charles and Camilla

It promises to be a holiday fit for a King

Eddie McGuire to come back as Footy Show co-host

Eddie McGuire at the Million Dollar Lunch annual fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Foundation in Melbourne, Friday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) NO ARCHIVING

Footy Show axes Craig Hutchison, Sam Newman survives

Channing Tatum’s cheeky $2400 sex toy prank

Channing Tatum in a scene from "Kingsman: The Golden Circle".

Channing Tatum went all out with his prank this time

Still downloading Game of Thrones? Expect a letter

You mean to tell me HBO want to protect one of the world’s most popular shows?

HBO title holds record as most illegally downloaded show

High-profile townhouse site sells for $3.8m

CBRE's Brendan Robins and Rem Rafter on site at Wurtulla.

Prime 1.5ha Sunshine Coast property set for town homes development

Owner tells of ghostly goings on at old Mackay pub

GHOST STORIES: Several people have died at the Mirani Hotel

Owner says pub is 'definitely haunted'

Developers 'pushing the envelope' with subdivisions

Darren Boettcher.

"When I said the block couldn't be subdivided, he just walked out"