LEVEE READY: The Queensland Government's Minister Cameron Dick (left), Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk are ready to fast track the process of constructing the South Rockhampton flood levee.
LEVEE READY: The Queensland Government's Minister Cameron Dick (left), Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk are ready to fast track the process of constructing the South Rockhampton flood levee. Contributed

State's fast-track plan for South Rocky flood levee

THE Queensland Government wants to put the pedal to the metal and get cracking on building the South Rockhampton flood levee bank.

It was exclusively revealed to The Morning Bulletin that the $60 million South Rockhampton flood levee was fast tracked today through a prescribed project declaration from the Queensland Government.

State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said the prescribed project status allowed the state's independent Coordinator-General to accelerate approvals required under state law.

LEVEE READY: The Queensland Government's Minister Cameron Dick (left), Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk are ready to fast track the process of constructing the South Rockhampton flood levee.
LEVEE READY: Infrastructure Minister Cameron Dick, Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. Contributed

"A project of this complexity will require multiple regulatory approvals including under the Water Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Planning Act, and the Transport Infrastructure Act," Mr Dick said.

"A prescribed project declaration means that the Coordinator-General can ensure that these approvals under state law are resolved in a timely manner and includes empowering the Coordinator-General to step in and decide approvals himself.

"What it really means is that this project can get going the moment that Michelle Landry and Prime Minister Scott Morrison finally cough up their share of the costs.

"Every day that the Morrison Government dithers and delays is another day that South Rockhampton residents are exposed to avoidable flooding."

READ: REVEALED: What swayed Landry on the flood levee debate

This follows the announcement a fortnight ago by Capricornia MP Michelle Landry that the levee bank project had proceeded, along with 15 other projects, to the next stage towards securing a slice of the Federal Government's $272.2 million Regional Growth Fund.

BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE: Michelle Landry with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, are urge communities in the region to take advantage of the Building Better Regions fund.
LEVEE SUPPORT: Capricornia MP Michelle Landry with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, can see the benefiits of a levee bank. Contributed

"I am pleased to know the Federal Government has agreed to support the project to the tune of $25 million, pending acceptance of (council's) business case, which is now completed and I'm confident it will proceed," Ms Landry 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."

READ: Landry on attack after Labor questions $25m pledge for levee

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the project not only offered flood mitigation for the Rockhampton community but also supported hundreds of jobs.

"My government committed $25 million to this project in the June 2017 State Budget," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"That was more than 18 months ago.

"Council have also committed $10 million and the feasibility study and the business case are also done.

"It's time for Scott Morrison to commit funding to this important project."

The proposed 7.2 kilometre levee, running from the Rockhampton CBD to the Bruce Highway at Upper Dawson Rd, has been identified as the most cost-effective option to mitigate the effects of flooding in Rockhampton.

First identified in 1992, the project was further supported by updated modelling in 2011 and has been confirmed by rigorous analysis including updated flood modelling in 2014.

The Fitzroy River spills into the lower lying parts of Depot Hill, Rockhampton as the river leve rises to 9 Metres.   Photo Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin   ROK030111-flood-c8
ENOUGH'S ENOUGH: The levee bank will prevent the Fitzroy River from spilling into the lower lying parts of Depot Hill, like it did in 2011. Chris Ison

The levee will protect more than 1000 properties including dwellings, commercial properties and rural properties particularly in Gladstone Rd, the lower CBD, Depot Hill, Port Curtis and Allenstown.

Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke welcomed the State Government's decision to accelerate the project.

"As well as providing vital flood protection, this project will deliver jobs to Rockhampton," Mr O'Rourke said.

"This is a time that all levels of government need to come together and build jobs and confidence in the Rockhampton economy.

"The levee will deliver a wide range of benefits to Rockhampton and the wider community as well as to those who live, work and do business in areas affected by flooding."

A detailed map showing the plans for the South Rockhampton flood levee.
LEVEE PROJECT: Map showing the plan for the proposed $60 million South Rockhampton flood levee. Rockhampton Regional Council

Mr O'Rourke said the levee would 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 flood events.

"The levee will also reduce the public health and safety risks associated with flooding including through the protection of the South Rockhampton Sewage Treatment Plant," he said.

Flood levee statistics

Cost: $60 million

Jobs generated: 185

Length: 7.2km

Protection: From a 200 year flood event, 724 hectares and over 1500 residential, commercial, industrial and rural parcels of land.