Central Highlands mayor Peter Maguire.
Central Highlands mayor Peter Maguire. Daniel Burdon

A $30 million sigh of relief for Central Highlands council

THE Central Highlands Regional Council has lopped $30 million off its 2010-12 flood recovery expenditure estimates for this financial year, admitting it may have over-estimated the cost of some works.

A budget estimate revised to $39 million was prompted also by a realisation that the Queensland Reconstruction Authority would not approve some Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements projects, Mayor Peter Maguire said.

"Back when the events occurred, the engineering team put together an estimate for the proposed works from 2010-11 and 2012," Cr Maguire said.

"They needed to go through the approvals process to justify the works. Are they within what the QRA would pay for, or not? And over time they have gone back and forth to refine them.

"No work was ever started until we got the approval. Nearly a year on, we're able to say we're much more confident to say those submissions won't be approved and we have not spent that money."

A Local Government Infrastructure Services report, commissioned by the council to look into $4.5 million claimed in day labour and scrutinise other work submissions, has clarified what the QRA will sanction.

The report identified instances where the council had done flood repair works to a better standard than before - against the QRA policy of like for like works - the cost could be shifted to capital expenditure.

The QRA also sent staff on the ground to Emerald to discuss how to re-submit claims in dispute. Cr Maguire said the visit was invaluable.

"The QRA are letting us reclaim some stuff (and) put in more information," he said.

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