Dempsey 'cautiously optimistic' about flood funding
BUNDABERG Mayor Jack Dempsey says he remains 'cautiously optimistic' following the announcement of a $4 million funding package to progress flood mitigation initiatives for in the region.
The announcement was made today by Minister for Local Government Mark Furner and Assistant Minister for Local Government and Infrastructure Glenn Butcher.
"It was reassuring today to hear the minister and assistant minister - on four occasions - confirm that the state was committed to 'flood-proofing' Bundaberg,” Mr Dempsey said.
"While the original commitment from the State Government in 2014 was for a 10-year flood mitigation plan, from what I understand from the minister's announcement today, the timeframe has been readjusted to 13 years.”
The $4m investment by the State Government is set to engage consultants to determine which is the most appropriate of the four identified mitigation measures for Bundaberg to achieve initial funding.
"While the government has promised 'boots on the ground' in relation to progressing the mitigation measures, I am certain the community is a little nervous that the state appears to be funding yet another scoping study, this time to determine which project sits best with the community,” he said.
"Four options are under consideration for Bundaberg as well as escape routes for residents in the Goodnight Scrub, Pine Creek and Perry River areas.
"Many hundreds of millions of dollars are tied up in the proposed mitigation measures and I think the community, and especially those who still relive the fear of the flood, will remain anxious until they actually see infrastructure rising within these identified mitigation areas.”
The mayor said it was worth noting that of the measures proposed by the State Government, the buyback option appeared to be the least favoured by the community.
The council was originally advised to leave this out of its considerations and this was in turn supported by an independent Community Reference Group (CRG).
The CRG has since reaffirmed its view that any buyback scheme is too late at this point which is more than four years after the 2013 flood.
Cr Dempsey said he hoped the work of the consultants would be carried out swiftly and the appropriate project selected and funded.
"Much rests on a speedy determination including community and commercial confidence as well as possible impacts on insurance costs for residents in flood prone areas,” he said.