Monday, 23 January 2023

Message to Labor: Fund the North Evacuation Route now

Local Federal and State MPs have welcomed the Member for Bundaberg finally supporting the Bundaberg North Evacuation Route.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said it was great news for the community that the State Member had finally ‘seen the light’.

“When Colin Boyce and I announced in May last year our election commitment of up to $60 million for the North Evacuation Route – with a 20 percent contribution from the State Government – the Deputy Premier claimed it was an attempt to buy votes and the Member for Bundaberg was nowhere to be seen,” Mr Pitt said.

“It’s about time that the Member for Bundaberg listened to the community and was supportive of the North Evacuation Route which would provide a safe evacuation path for around 10,000 residents if there was a similar catastrophe to the 2013 flood.

“The evacuation route will provide direct access to the hospital, emergency services, as well as the recently funded Disaster Coordination Centre near Bundaberg Airport and it is strongly supported by the community.

“I wrote to the Minister for Infrastructure in August last year to confirm if Labor would fund this project and I have not received a response.

“As we approach the 10-year anniversary of Bundaberg’s devastating flood it’s time for Labor to get on board and commit to this project. It’s been long enough. It is time to show us the money.”

Federal Member for Flynn Colin Boyce said the North Evacuation Route would give residents more time to get to safety and is pleased the Member for Bundaberg has finally come out of hiding to support the critical project.

“As well as increased evacuation time for Bundaberg North, Gooburrum and surrounding areas, the North Evacuation Route will improve access into Bundaberg North after a flood event for emergency services and the community,” Mr Boyce said.

“More than 4,000 homes were impacted by the floods in 2013 but nothing is more important than human lives and if we can give residents the best chance at getting to safety and being able to access critical services during a crisis, that must be the priority.

“The Queensland State Labor Government released its 10-year Flood Action Plan in 2017 and it took another three years before committing half of the funding for the East Flood Levee in the middle of the State election.

“Now, the Queensland State Labor Government need to commit the funding for the North Evacuation Route without delay.”

State Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said while he welcomes the Member for Bundaberg’s verbal commitment to flood projects, any real action is yet to be seen.

“It’s been broken promises and misleading assurances for a decade,” said Mr Bennett.

“I’m urging the Minister to commit real funding to these flood projects to safeguard our region.

“This government promised ‘boots on the ground to flood proof Bundaberg’ in 2017.

“We now know that was political point scoring propaganda.

“I’ve been working with local organisations, groups, and individuals on flood proofing plans for years but sadly, the Minister and the Department has slammed the door in our faces.   

“Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald damaged almost 3,000 properties, 600 businesses, and made 7,000 people evacuate.

“It was terrifying and had enormous impacts to people’s lives.

“Ten years of inaction from the State Labor Government is disgraceful and an insult to the thousands of displaced people.

“It’s time for less talk and more action. Bundaberg deserves better.”

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