The military says it won’t be docking at the Sand Wharf during a military exercise next month because the wharf is too run down.
The military says it won’t be docking at the Sand Wharf during a military exercise next month because the wharf is too run down. Allan Reinikka

Rocky's woeful wharf in shambles

THE military wants to use Rocky's wharf for a major military exercise soon, but can't because it's too run-down.

It's a situation labelled “disgusting” by independent state parliamentary candidate Bruce Diamond, who says the city has forfeited an opportunity for the military to establish a permanent presence in the town.

He was backed by timber merchant Ken Hay, who said he organised a petition in 1999, signed by 3200 people, that called for an improved wharf, but was ignored by the then Rockhampton City Council.

It comes as Rockhampton Regional Mayor Brad Carter launched a scathing attack on the Federal Government, accusing it of neglecting the region's economic development.

On Wednesday two Australian military mechanised landing craft from Townsville docked at the old section of Sand Wharf in the Fitzroy River.

Troop commander Lieutenant Jonas Price said they were sent on a reconnaissance mission to see if it would be feasible to use the wharf to load supplies and vehicles for Exercise Talisman Sabre next month and ship them to beaches on Shoalwater Bay.

The new section of the wharf, built in the 1970s, was not available for the boats to dock at because it is undergoing maintenance.

Lt Price said he had a “quick look” at the new section and believed the military would not be able to use it during the exercise.

“I would like to use it if it had some work (done).

"We're unable to use it right now.”

Lt Price said the military boats were too heavy and could damage the wharf if parked beside it “in its current state”.

A spokeswoman for Transport and Main Roads said it had started maintenance work on the wharf in December prior to flooding, which had delayed the works.

“However, we are expecting to complete the works next month,” she said.

Mr Diamond blamed Federal and State governments for not providing the funds to upgrade the wharf.

“This opportunity will be forfeited. He's (Lt Price) going to go away and say there's no facility (in Rockhampton),” he said.

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten said: “There's been more spent on facilities in the riverbank in the last 10 years than the 100 years before that.”

He said Mr Diamond stood to gain commercially from any improvement in facilities.

“He's really looking for a commercial opportunity there for his own boat.”

Talisman Sabre involves 30,000 defence personnel including 8000 American troops.



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