PROPOSED: Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig detailed his plans for an economic boost following last year’s bushfires.
PROPOSED: Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig detailed his plans for an economic boost following last year’s bushfires.

Ludwig’s $40M bushfire recovery proposal

RECOVERY efforts from the bushfires which devastated Cobraball this past November have started to take shape.

Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig has proposed the development of a rural road construction plan that could cost up to $40 million.

The plan comes amid concerns Livingstone Shire would be overlooked by federal and state government funding streams as recovery funds begin to rollout to impacted areas.

“Livingstone Shire council must ensure we are well-positioned to get our share of that funding flowing here as quickly as possible,” Cr Ludwig said.

He said the process involved developing a detailed plan, which must be approved by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority before any funds would be released.

“With much of the national fire recovery focus now on impacted areas of NSW and Victoria, Livingstone must ‘double-down’ on our efforts to ensure Central Queensland is not overlooked.”

Cr Ludwig believes a construction led recovery, specifically his proposed road plans, would create the jobs and economic stimulus needed to replace lost primary production capacity.

He said early discussions with Queensland Reconstruction Authority surrounding his proposal had been positive and it was now awaiting the go-ahead before moving into its first stages.

“Meetings with rural fire brigades have identified the first $10-$12M of works would create immediate jobs, while enhancing firefighting capability and rapid deployment of our brigades,” he said.

“The first $1.3M has been ‘earmarked’ and will compliment $2.5M of works already scheduled by council in two key areas identified - Lake Mary Rd and Greenlakes Rd.”

Other targeted upgrades involve Cawarral, Tanby, Nankin, Mt Chalmers and Coowonga areas, while key link roads include Gravel Pit Rd, Cobraball Rd, Old Byfield Rd and completion of the primary production link road from Bungundarra to Rossmoya via Ingrey Rd.

“The Bungundarra to Rossmoya connection is of particular importance and concern, as it provides a critical evacuation route for rural communities in major fire events,” he said.

The proposed developments will also form a strategic network, Cr Ludwig said, allowing for slashing and ‘cool burns’ to create more defendable firebreak lines.

Other benefits he anticipates will come from the planned works include improved transport corridors for local produce delivery and a scenic loop road to attract tourists.