Mayor agrees a solution is needed to flood-proof Emerald
WITH $20 million invested and levee systems in Roma and St George well advanced, Community Recovery and Resilience Minister David Crisafulli has warned the Central Highlands council to "get cracking".
Despite a cancelled meeting with Mayor Peter Maguire to discuss the three-pronged mitigation plan endorsed at last month's council meeting, Mr Crisafulli said time was running out for a chance to share in the $47 million pool of resilience funding now available.
Acknowledging Emerald's continued vulnerability to exorbitant insurance premiums, the minister said all communities for too long had endured the double whammy of frequent floods and sky-rocketing insurance costs.
"No one can deny there is a problem to be solved in Emerald," Mr Crisafulli said.
"It is up to your council to come forward with the next phase of what to do.
"I have expressed my willingness to play a part, but they have to figure out what it is and get cracking."
A 5.2km long earthen levee capable of protecting 500 homes and businesses in Roma is nearing completion.
In St George, a 2.6km block wall and earthen embankment levee will repel floodwaters higher than the 2012 event.
Mr Crisafulli said he was aware of Emerald's preferred flood-proofing options.
"I have been following it and had a few discussions with Cr Maguire and council," he said.
"It is up to them to find the right solution but they have to make sure it is something the community supports, make sure it is something that will be successful and they have to put in an application (for funding)," he said.
"The greatest gift that a government can provide is certainly of infrastructure, so whatever the best solutions are, need to be agreed upon and we need to pin our ears back and do it, and that is the same everywhere."
Cr Maguire toured Roma and St George last weekend.
"To be honest with you, there is still resistance in this community about levees and there doesn't seem to be the same resistance in Roma and St George from talking to councillors there," he said.
The council isn't in any position to apply for funding until the results of a geotechnical study are known in about six months.
Cr Maguire agreed Emerald was a "problem" needing solutions.
"Yes we are," he said.
"We've been trying to get through to councillors and members of the community but some people don't' seem to want to work with us."