SEPTEMBER 28, 2017: IT has been six months today since Tropical Cyclone Debbie caused widespread destruction in our region and Federal Member for the response from insurance companies has been far from satisfactory. I will be taking up my concerns with both the Insurance Council of…
TODAY’S announcement of an additional $37.6 million in Federal Government disaster relief funding to repair critical infrastructure and damaged beach and river frontages is a victory for the battered communities of Mackay and the Whitsundays. I took up the fight, along with local mayors Andrew Willcox and Greg Williamson, for a fairer funding distribution under Category D of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) which now totalled more than $96 million. The important thing to focus on today is that there’s an extra $15.2 million to restore the Shute Harbour Marina and get this business and tourism hub back up to speed.
I NOW have great confidence that there will be further NDRRA Category D funding provided for cyclone recovery in the Whitsundays, Bowen & Mackay. Today, further discussions have been held between the Federal Government and the State Government about certain aspects of the Category D funding package. Extra information which was needed regarding funding for Shute Harbour has been supplied and further discussions have also been undertaken regarding the Bluewater Trail.
NO-ONE pulled any punches at a teleconference which was held today with Federal Minister for Justice Michael Keenan in relation to concerns over Category D NDRRA funding approvals. It was a frank and fearless discussion as it had to be because we are talking about funding to assist the community in recovering from a natural disaster.Both Mayor Andrew Willcox and Mayor Greg Williamson did a fantastic job in ferociously advocating for the region. While there was a lot of disagreement around specific statements that were being made, a way forward was mapped out. The Federal Government has unanswered questions about a number of projects that were rejected for funding.
13 JULY 2017: The Federal Government’s axing of the Green Army was a disastrous decision for North Queensland. I'm not going to play the government’s line on the Green Army program, which will cease on June 30 next year, because, frankly, I was ticked off when the government announced the Green Army was axed.