JOBS: South Rocky Flood Levee snags $25M in federal funds
PROVIDED the business case stacks up, the South Rockhampton Flood Levee project will proceed, thanks to the Federal Government coming to the party with $25 million.
The levee project has taken one step closer to reality by securing being invited to the next stage of the Australian Government's highly anticipated $272.2 million Regional Growth Fund.
The $60 million project would see the Federal Government's $25 million added to Rockhampton Regional Council's $10 million and the State Government's $25 million.
The good news will take some of the sting out the hundreds of CQ redundancies announced this week due to long time Rockhampton builder JM Kelly Group folding (230 jobs) and Glencore scaling back its Hail Creek mine operation (430 jobs) by the end of next year.
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said this was exciting news for the region as the levee project promises jobs, economic security and greatly increased flood resilience for hundreds of Rockhampton residents.
"This is a win for our region. The Levee bank can drive economic growth and create jobs both immediately and in the longer term," Ms Landry said.
"Locally, the South Rockhampton Levee bank has been discussed for some time and now, thanks to the Coalition Federal Government and our commitment to Central Queensland economy, we are closer than ever to seeing it realised.
"That's why I am so pleased to know the Federal Government has agreed to support the project to the tune of $25 million, pending acceptance of its business case."
Ms Landry said this was a project that has received a great deal of study and a great deal of work already and she was confident it would stack up.
"The Regional Growth Fund allows time for proponents to deliver full business cases for their projects and this is what RRC will now do," she said.
"The South Rockhampton Levee Bank promises to deliver 185 jobs through construction and I can't wait for the shovels to strike the ground.
"I am committed to delivering the job-creating infrastructure our region needs."
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Regional Growth Fund will provide grants of $10 million or more for major transformational projects that support long-term economic growth and create regional jobs.
"The Regional Growth Fund will unlock economic opportunities across regional Australia and we know that when the regions are strong, so too is our nation," Mr McCormack said.
"I am pleased to announce the Government has selected 16 projects to progress to the next stage. These projects are one step away from receiving funding and making the regions where they are located even stronger and more resilient.
"The projects selected for Stage 2 focus on building on existing strengths, re-invigorating industries and tapping into a region's tourism potential."
Mr McCormack said funding requests for these projects range from $10 million to $29 million, making the Regional Growth Fund a significant investor in our regions.
Investigation by The Morning Bulletin has revealed a number of positive economic benefits for the levee project, which should mean that the business case should be water tight as a brand new levee bank.
- The levee will protect over 1,000 properties including dwellings, commercial properties and rural properties particularly in Gladstone Road, the lower CBD, Depot Hill, Port Curtis and Allenstown.
- Important community infrastructure will also be protected including the Depot Hill and Port Curtis State Schools, Rosel Park.
- The levee will protect jobs by reducing flood damage to key commercial properties in the South Rockhampton area such as Hastings Deering who employ approximately 800 people and suffered more than $20 million in damages during the past two flood events.
- The levee will help protect the economy. The economic impact on Central and North Queensland of flooding on the Bruce Highway was estimated at $80.7 million dollars in 2011.
- Flooding costs us all money. In the past 4 years alone, flooding across the Rockhampton Region has resulted in a repair bill of $67 million.
- The levee will also reduce the public health and safety risks associated with flooding including the protection of the South Rockhampton Sewage Treatment Plant to reduce impacts on the environment.
- The levee will ensure access in and out of the city via the Bruce Highway during major flood events.
- Construction of the levee will clear the way for improved community infrastructure and urban renewal opportunities close to the CBD. One possibility could be a pedestrian and cycle link between the Rockhampton CBD, the Botanic Gardens and interlink Range and Allenstown. May help decrease some home insurance premiums.
- Provision of more useable land at Rosel Park and allow the development of fitness trails and heritage walks.
Cost: $60 million
Contributions: Council $10 million, State Government $25 million, Federal Government $25 million
- The proposed levee is 7.2km long
- It will offer protection from a 200 year flood event
- will protect an area of 724 hectares and over 1,500 residential, commercial, industrial and rural parcels of land.
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