Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk throws her support behind the proposed $50m South Rockhampton Flood Levy.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk throws her support behind the proposed $50m South Rockhampton Flood Levy. Chloe Lyons

'A no brainer': High-level backing for major Rocky project

BUILDING the contentious South Rockhampton Levee Bank is a "no brainer" according to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The state leader vowed to contact Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull "as soon as possible" regarding the $60 million proposal today, becoming the second powerful figure in a matter of hours to back the $50 million flood mitigation project.

Ms Palaszczuk followed Opposition leader Bill Shorten's call to "get on and build the levee" as the pair visited flood-battered Rockhampton yesterday.

THE LEVEE DEBATE

"What the mayor is proposing with the local Members is about protecting the people," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"And fundamentally from where I sit this is a no brainer.

"But for it to happen I need Malcolm Turnbull to come on board.

"The state today is committing to this proposal because its about people, and people's property and people's homes, so I want the politics out of it, I want all levels of government to work together."

Arguably the levee's strongest advocate Margaret Strelow said council could "put some money on the table" to finally secure the project, expected to protect 1000 homes and businesses and 3000 jobs.

 

Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow and Local Disaster Management Group chair councillor Tony Williams talking during Opposition Leader Bill Shorten's trip to Rockhampton.
Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow and Local Disaster Management Group chair councillor Tony Williams. Chloe Lyons

"This is something that I absolutely believe in," she said.

"I know we do floods well but there is an impact, an economic impact, and it just seems senseless; we know the last two floods, 2011, 2013, the reconstruction costs that all three levels of government paid were $40 million and estimated cost to private property was another $40 million.

 

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.

"Well here we go again, add $20 million to each of those and that levee will pay for itself.

"We can have the levy bank in place in two years, and it would keep the Bruce Hwy on its correct alignment."

Completed flood mitigation works have held up in north Rockhampton this week, protecting 400 traditionally flood-affected homes.

 

The North Rockhampton Flood Mitigation Program is being erected in Rodboro St.
The North Rockhampton Flood Mitigation Program is being erected in Rodboro St. Allan Reinikka ROK310317aflood1

But Cr Strelow said it was time to protect the south-side, and the "shovel ready" levee could go to contract in five to six months, and be completed in two years.

Cr Strelow said a $400,000 coalition commitment partially funded the major 2014 study.

She claims Capricornia MP Michelle Landry has a copy of the proposal, though Ms Landry yesterday said she had not officially been presented and no officially funding application had been received from council.

 

A plan of the proposed South Rockhampton Flood Levee that would protect about 1500 properties and the flood prone section of the Bruce Hwy on Gladstone RD
A plan of the proposed South Rockhampton Flood Levee.

"There was money given by the Federal Government to the State Government and that combined bucket of money in 2014-15 is where our application went for the South Rockhampton Levee Bank," Cr Strelow said.

"I'm not interested in political games, I will call out where something is not true.

The study is long finished, I am very keen to sit down with all of the players locally and get this project done."