Find the extra funds for our levee
Editor, The Morning Bulletin.
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a no-brainer in 2017 - and nothing has changed.
The estimated cost of the South Rockhampton levee was about $60 million back then and the Queensland Premier didn't hesitate to throw $25 million on the table.
Labor leader at the time Bill Shorten also pledged $25 million towards the project to protect 1500 properties and also flood-proof the Bruce Highway on flood-prone Gladstone Rd.
It all made sense.
Over time, concerns around safety, water pumping and impacts of water displacement were resolved and both the state and federal governments signed over the cash, subject to final planning.
Now the cost has blown out to more than $100 million as council fine-tunes the design.
So what? Well, this is a critical project for the future of this city.
We will all be long gone as future generations enjoy the long-term benefits of a levee with the potential to transform a section of the city that has always been dragged down by the "swamp” reputation that comes with frequent flooding.
There is also the irritating issue for governments of having spent almost $300 million on the Yeppen bridges but still needing to divert traffic down a suburban road for as long as two weeks when it floods.
Nowhere else in Australia has to cop that.
The federal and state governments are about to spend $1 billion on a Rocky ring road yet they can't find an extra $30 million to finish-flood proofing the Bruce Highway in the city as well as protecting 1500 properties.
Are they kidding? It's still a no-brainer at $100 million, and even at $150 million.