(L-R) Local Disaster Management Group chair councillor Tony Williams, Senator for Queensland Murray Watts, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga arrive in Rockhampton to talk about flooding.
(L-R) Local Disaster Management Group chair councillor Tony Williams, Senator for Queensland Murray Watts, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga arrive in Rockhampton to talk about flooding. Chloe Lyons

Shorten to fund multi-million dollar Rocky project

OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten made a shock promise that would finally resolve an issue that has divided Rockhampton for years.  

Mr Shorten said each clean-up bill was costing our city more in the long-run than it would to build a flood levee.

Rockhampton Regional Council latest estimate suggested the levee could cost about $50million, with an opportunity for joint funding from industry.

Early projections suggested the floods would cut up to a whopping $60million out of Rockhampton's economy, as locals were left without work when businesses shut down, about 217 homes were flooded, and council forked out for round-the-clock services.  

>>16 Rockhampton suburbs that can claim flood money revealed

Bill Shorten talks about his support for a Rockhampton flood levee.
Bill Shorten talks about his support for a Rockhampton flood levee. Chloe Lyons

But Mr Shorten called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to scrape together the funds to pay for the levee in a partnership with council and the State Government.

"How many floods does there have to be before we get on and do something," Mr Shorten said. "If Mr Turnbull does it, I'll be the first to pat him on the back

"But let's be clear, we've taken the politics out of it, I'm more interested in Rocky than I am in who gets the credit.

"No politics here. Let's just get on and build the levee."

WATCH | Shorten back Rockhampton flood levee

Mr Shorten said he would lobby Mr Turnbull to build the levee, but he would build it anyway if he were elected.   

"I certainly hope we don't have to wait until after the next election to get it fixed," he said.

"But if we do, we will (build it)."

"Let's just get on and build the levee, so the next time we have a flood like this, and there will be a next time, we don't have to mop out and rip up the carpets."

FLOOD POLITICS: Should Rockhampton have a levee?
FLOOD POLITICS: Should Rockhampton have a levee?

Mr Shorten acknowledged that the proposal to build a levee was polarising, but it would simply move water further downstream.

"We can prevent and move this powerful force of water further downstream, away from the houses," he said.

Mr Shorten also demanded Mr Turnbull remove the "bureaucratic red tape" making it tough for Rockhampton's flood victim to access flood relief quickly.

"We need to remember that merely because Rocky has coped so professionally … they are eligible and should be treated as eligible right away for what modest disaster relief there is from the Federal Government," he said.  

"The federal government should immediately sort out any bureaucratic red tape that is denying victims of the flood any modest support."