Local pollies' levee bank positions: Rodgers, Byrne and Landry
After Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne tongue-lashed the federal member Michelle Landry's perceived inaction regarding the South Rockhampton Flood Levee in Queensland Parliament last week, LNP Candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers has waded into the debate.
"While he grandstands in Brisbane, attacking local federal members (Michelle Landry) for not paying for his wall, Central Queenslanders want good, secure jobs,” Mr Rodgers said.
"This Member for Rockhampton jumps up and down for levee bank funding but sits on his hands when it comes to major economic infrastructure.”
Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne responded saying he was still fighting for the South Rockhampton Flood Levee because it will make a significant difference to the community.
"It is a disgrace that Michelle Landry and Douglas Rodgers are determined to see the initiative fail,” Mr Byrne said.
"It seems that the LNP at both the Federal and State level fail to understand the benefits of the flood levee.
"The levee would end the damaging cycle of flooding that affects Rockhampton every few years.”
Challenging to the often cited line by the LNP that the levee was ineligible for Category D assistance Mr Byrne said it simply wasn't true quoting the The Federal Government's own criteria for category D funding.
"As per section 5.5 of the Commonwealth's Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements Determination 2012 (Version 2): A category D measure is an act of relief or recovery carried out to alleviate distress or damage in circumstances that are in the opinion of the Minister, exceptional.”
Mr Byrne said the eligibility in fact is at the discretion of the Prime Minister and quoted numerous past examples where Category D projects had delivered new infrastructure.
These included Seven new Brisbane City Council ferry terminals were built to far higher standards of engineering and flood resilience after the 2011 floods, the town of Grantham was relocated to higher ground after the 2011 floods, two new detention basins were built in Toowoomba after the 2011 flood event.
He said this situation was almost an exact repeat of 2015 after Cyclone Marcia.
"Back then the Palaszczuk Government invited the Federal Government for category D funding for the Rockhampton Riverbank Redevelopment after cyclone Marcia,” Mr Byrne said.
"The State government committed $15 million towards the project and the federal LNP Government refused again telling the furphy that it wasn't eligible.
"The common denominator is the Federal member Michelle Landry, her abject failure to effectively lobby on behalf of Rockhampton has cost the city $25 million after Debbie.”
Mr Byrne said it was wilful and deliberate neglect for which she will "never be forgiven by the people of Depot Hill”.
"It is high time that Michelle Landry stopped making excuses and stood up for something that matters for her community,” he said.
Ms Landry disputed Mr Byrne's claims of inaction saying she wasn't going to buy into his "hypocrisy”.
”On one hand he says the levee should be constructed without delay and funded without due diligence, yet on the other hand uses the same argument against supporting Rookwood Weir,” she said.
"It's highly disrespectful to use Grantham as a comparison; 12 people died in that flood and a community was destroyed.
"The other projects he cites were upgrades to infrastructure, not new projects.”
She said they wanted to make sure they got flood mitigation right and said Grantham is a prime example of what happens when you don't.
"The Palaszczuk Government know this, but continue to grandstand to hide their own failure to support real job creating projects,” she said.