A victory on cyclone recovery funding

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.

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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.

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Frank discussion on cyclone funding

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.

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Whitsundays on show in Paris

THE city of Paris is festooned with billboards displaying turtles, Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef as part of the $10million tourism funding package to support our region following the effects of Cyclone Debbie. I welcome the launch of Tourism Australia’s international campaign which was undertaken by the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steve Ciobo last night. I was able to bring Minister Ciobo to the Whitsundays to see firsthand the effects of Cyclone Debbie almost immediately after the event, and it is now heartening to see the results of that visit, which is a concerted effort to showcase our region internationally and beckon international tourists back to this beautiful part of the world. Tourism is so important for our community. It drives the economy and supports local jobs. That’s why the Liberal National Government is working hard to bring tourists back to the region.

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