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