Drone footage of the floods at Kalka.
Drone footage of the floods at Kalka. Allan Reinikka ROK060417adrone1

OPINION: Levee is not a dirty word. So just do it

MERVYN O'Neill shouldn't be falling victim to the economic disaster he is currently facing.

The owner of the Southside Holiday Village is being flooded yet again, and he stands to lose $100,000 due to Easter Holiday cancellations, when he and hundreds more businesses could have been saved by a $50m South Rockhampton levee bank.

He's had to send 30 staff home. He is the window into a wave of heartache taking place across the flood-prone areas of South Rockhampton.

As well as the 1500 homes and businesses being impacted by floodwater in this area, there is the diversion of the Bruce Hwy down Upper Dawson Rd due to a flooded section of Gladstone Rd that would have also been protected by the levee bank.

There is no denying the levee bank issue split the community - and also politicians - when it was proposed in 2013.

It's expensive but so was the $175m Yeppen Floodplain crossing which came in about $120m under budget (that $120m is more than twice the cost of the South Rocky levee bank and enough left over to protect the airport.)

That crossing was the right thing to do and so is the levee bank when you weigh up the long-term benefits against the cost.

Yet despite the commonsense and logic that points to this, we have politicians still hung up on the need to gather "community support"?

We vote in MPs, senators, mayors and councillors to make mature, well considered decisions based on the long-term interests of the collective community - not the next election.

This is not a popularity contest.



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