The Bundaberg railway bridge during 2013 floods. Photo: Max Fleet
The Bundaberg railway bridge during 2013 floods. Photo: Max Fleet

OPINION: What’s missing from the recent state budget

On December 1 in the NewsMail Geordi Offord wrote a piece on key budget initiatives released by the government on that day.

Most items were self explanatory with the exception of one item; Bundaberg - Gin Gin road. The Burnett River Traffic Bridge: $1.8 million in 2020 - 21 out of a $28.6 million total spend to rehabilitate the Burnett River Bridge and Culverts near Bundaberg Central.

Could [the government] please clarify for us what this actually means?

Our group the Burnett River Communities Flood Prevention Organisation has for many years from 2013 onwards been actively pursuing the Government for flood mitigation measures to be commenced for our city.

We are primarily a flood mitigation action group and amongst other projects have been very active in getting action on an escape route using the Tallon Bridge during these times.

When North Bundaberg is flooded residents north of the river are completely isolated from the south side which is where all medical, hospitalisation, food etc is located.

This becomes a bigger problem when we have our new hospital that has to cater for North Bundaberg and it’s northern environs in times of need.

The only way out for us is for the sick and elderly to be evacuated by air leaving us to drive 50 kilometres to Gin Gin to obtain food.

This situation is farcical as Gin Gin is a very small community that becomes the temporary home for any refugees travelling south.

As was shown in 2013 the food supply was exhausted within a day or two which created huge logistical problems.

As you can see it is of very urgent need to provide an escape route to the south and plans for this have been completed to achieve this for a long period of time.

It is basically what has been called a shovel ready project and can be started with funding, hence our request for clarification of funding in the budget.

It is interesting to note that the East Levy has been given the promise of funding of some $42.5 million which is half the total projected cost when it is only property and it’s associated problems that suffers whereas the North Situation is life threatening and would cost only a fraction of the East project and does not require expensive on going maintenance.

Priorities appear to be out of canter here.

Robert Henderson on behalf of the B.R.C.F.P.O