MP, mayor spat over flood levee funding
THE Member for Capricornia launched an attack on Rockhampton's mayor yesterday, saying she shouldn't be pushing the flood levee down people's necks.
Michelle Landry accused Mayor Margaret Strelow of failing to sell the flood levee to the community.
Ms Landry's comments come after Cr Strelow criticised the Federal Government at the Local Government Association of Queensland's annual conference in Mackay this week about the possible cut to natural disaster recovery funding.
More than 200 delegates voted to reject proposals to cut the share of federal funding for disaster recovery from 75% of the total costs to 50%.
"To think we were ready to invest money to put up a levee and they wouldn't support us," Cr Strelow said.
But Ms Landry said the cut to funding would see pre-mitigation plans introduced to prepare the community for a flood disaster.
While a flood levee could benefit the community to avoid a flood disaster, Ms Landry said Rockhampton residents simply didn't like the idea.
"It comes down to what the community wants; the Rockhampton Regional Council were told, if they want a levee, to go ahead and get studies done, but they need community support as well," Ms Landry said.
"I think there are positives and negatives against a levee; the feedback is that people have major concerns that it will back up water in other areas."
Ms Landry said Cr Strelow should stop using the media to get the council's message across and talk directly to her office.
"I'd prefer if the council have a problem with the government, they write me a letter; and council know they can pick up the phone and ring me," she said.
And that might be exactly what Cr Strelow aims to do.
She told The Bulletin she would love to work with Ms Landry to find a way forward on the flood levee issue.
"I take some comfort from Ms Landry's comments about being in favour of mitigation, and I'm happy to concede that the way we told our story (or didn't tell the story) was a part of the problem," Cr Strelow said.
She said, given that it was obvious that the Federal Government intended to push 25% of flood repair costs back onto council, she would like to see if Ms Landry would consider changing her position on funding the levee.
"Construction of the levee right now would not only deliver all the benefits of the levee, (it) would also bring much-needed jobs to our region," Cr Strelow said.
Would you vote against a Federal Government for cutting natural disaster recovery funding?
As of 9pm last night:
75% said yes.
25% said no.
Vote online at www.the morningbulletin.com.au