'Hard to accept' 150 per cent flood levee cost blowout
I SHARE Leyland Barnett's (Morning Bulletin 29/7/19) concern about the ever-escalating cost of the South Rocky Food Levee.
When the Rockhampton Regional Council first proposed the levee, the stated cost was $39 million. Since then it has risen to $48 million (TMB 9/5/14), $60 million, $70 million and now more than $100 million.
I could understand a 20 or 30 per cent cost blowout over five years but more than 150%?
That's harder to accept.
As for the cost of the alternative option of raising the level of Gladstone Road, I'll need to talk to the mayor about the source of her figures.
In a Facebook post in October last year she put the cost at $40 million. Now she says it is closer to $100 million.
A $60 million increase in nine months is quite significant, to say the least.
I will always fight for Rocky to receive its fair share and am proud our region secured the equivalent of $4325 in capital spending for every person who lives here in the last state budget.
This is one of the highest per capita spends in the state and more than double what the southeast corner sees.
However, I respectfully disagree with Frazer Pearce's assessment that the state government should continue to cough up more and more money for this, even if, as he suggests, the cost eventually rises to $150 million.
This is taxpayers' money and we have a duty to be responsible with it.
The state budget was only handed down in June and yet here we are just over a month later being asked to pull this money out of thin air.
We also need to consider the wishes of the Rockhampton community in this.
I spend a lot of time doorknocking and attending community events and for every person I speak to that is in favour of the levee, there are probably another half a dozen who are opposed to it.
If we were to hold a public vote on whether to go ahead with this levee, I strongly doubt it would achieve majority support.
I urge the mayor to put in a formal request for any additional funding to State Development Minister Cameron Dick's office as soon as possible so we can move ahead with the discussion about how to deal with this cost blowout.
Barry O'Rourke MP
Member for Rockhampton