Central Highlands Mayor defiant on flood group
DISGRUNTLED Central Highlands' councillors have challenged Mayor Peter Maguire's transparency in hand-picking his Emerald flood focus group without consultation.
"If I've overstepped my authority, I've overstepped my authority - but we're moving ahead," a defiant Cr Maguire told Wednesday's meeting.
Cr Maguire formed the group in the wake of the council failing to gain widespread acceptance for a KBR Consultants' report recommending a levee system to largely floodproof Emerald, inundated in 2008 and 2010-11.
The Central Queensland News has seen a list of 14 names forming a cross-section of residents and business- people from flood hotspots, including Selma and Codenwarra Rds, Kidd and Riverview Sts, Slack Dr, Blue Gum Estate, the industrial area and a club, among others.
They will meet on Monday.
Councillors began Wednesday with a trip to a Slack Dr address to hear why a levee bank was impractical.
"While we were down at the river, the word transparency was mentioned three times," Cr Kev Cracknell said.
"While I have no issue with any person you put on your list, I don't support it," Cr Cracknell said.
"I don't think it's transparent."
Cr Peter Maundrell accused members of the focus group of lacking the expertise to be part of a decision-making process that could leave the council liable and he called for State and Federal government input to spread the risk.
"It is something very critical which needs to be taken into consideration," Cr Maundrell said.
"This is a loaded gun we're firing with."
An agenda detailing the draft terms of reference has been sent out to the members ahead of Monday meeting.
Cr Maguire said he intended them to be briefed on the flood studies, proposed mitigation works and more.
Cr Maguire impressed on the councillors that the group members would be used in an advisory capacity to siphon information "back into the council to look at".
Other flood mitigation options would be offered by the peer review process.
"We will be the ultimate drivers - it's our arses on the line," Cr Maguire said.
"I'm not trying to exclude anyone from the process.
"We are the ones who are going to make the call - not Vaughan Johnson, not Campbell bloody Newman.
"I don't think we have an option to do nothing.
"Insurance companies are holding guns to people's heads."