Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce prepare to address the media in Depot Hill.
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry and Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce prepare to address the media in Depot Hill. Chloe Lyons

Shorten, Joyce in stoush over controversial Rocky project

THE levee debate raged on yesterday as acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce flew into Rockhampton to take aim at Opposition leader Bill Shorten's commitment to the project.

Mr Joyce made clear the Rookwood Weir was still a higher priority for his government than the South Rockhampton Flood Levee as he was surrounded by Depot Hill residents scraping mud from their yards.

On Friday Mr Shorten called on Malcolm Turnbull to "put politics aside" and "get on and build the levee".

 

Opposition leader Bill Shorten supports Rockhampton levee: Opposition leader Bill Shorten urges the Turnbull Government to sort out the "bureaucratic red-tape" and begin work on a Rockhampton flood levee.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten supports Rockhampton levee: Opposition leader Bill Shorten urges the Turnbull Government to sort out the "bureaucratic red-tape" and begin work on a Rockhampton flood levee.

Mr Joyce comment's echoed Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry's position of making community support the condition of funding the project.

"I'm not going to go down the path of saying we will build it until the community of Rockhampton is sure they want to build it," he said.

"I've had a discussion with the Prime Minister yesterday, we are absolutely supportive if that's the way the community wants to go."

After surveys by CQUniversity, Ms Landry and the Rockhampton Regional Council yielded very different results, Ms Landry said it was time for an independent survey.

During his visit to Rockhampton, Mr Shorten gave the levee his full support and vowed to complete the project if he was elected.

 

Bill Shorten sits in on the Rockhampton Local Disaster Management Committee meeting as he visited the city yesterday.
Bill Shorten sits in on the Rockhampton Local Disaster Management Committee meeting as he visited the city yesterday. Rockhampton Regional Council

"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."

Despite these comments Mr Joyce said the Labor leader lacked a strong stance.

 

"I tell you what, I think that having listened to his transcript, I don't quite know what he said," Mr Joyce said.

"Because he said he definitely, maybe, wanted it - that's the story of a lot of people's lives, definitely maybe."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also backed the plan during her visit to Rockhampton, calling it a "no-brainer".

Although the levee was the topic on most people's lips, Mr Joyce brought the flood mitigation debate back to Rookwood Weir despite saying it wouldn't have stopped flood damage.

"I'm not suggesting for one second that Rookwood would have been much of a mitigant against this flood, in fact it'd probably fill in a couple of hours," Mr Joyce said.

Would you support a South Rockhampton Flood Levee?

This poll ended on 16 April 2017.

Current Results

Yes

38%

No

44%

Undecided

7%

I don't know enough about the issue

11%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"But it'd certainly leave you with the wealth after the flood has gone to fire up the economy and get things going again.

"Everybody in Rocky should be seeing that water flowing down the river and asking this question, 'Why aren't we doing something with that'?"

Similarly, Senator Matt Canavan said it wasn't debris he saw floating down the Fitzroy - but money.

"What I see here when you're down by the river and there's two Sydney Harbours going by everyday," he said.

"That water is just wealth, it's notes, it's money in the bank.

"We could have just kept some of it and used it in later months to grow food and make jobs."