Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

100 Days after Debbie; Politics Takes over Recovery the Mission

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

100 Days after Debbie; Politics Takes over Recovery the Mission

Article excerpt

Byline: Campbell Gellie campbell.gellie@dailymercury.com.au

ONE hundred days have passed since Cyclone Debbie crashed over the coast, but still the community at Lambert's Beach waits for funding to fix its destroyed foreshore.

Erosion has left the shoreline in ruins. There's a 3-metre drop-off, bollards are sitting at the bottom of the beach and the cliff continues to collapse.

But plans to fix the foreshore are on hold because of a political tussle between state and federal governments over how much money will be made available in Category D disaster relief funding.

Meanwhile, residents say it is a disaster waiting to happen and fear children could be trapped if the wall of sand collapses on them.

"It is disgusting. It is a danger waiting to happen," Lambert's Beach resident Connie Dixon said of the eroded beach. "It's just a matter of time before it entraps a kid who is playing in it.

"More has gone since it happened. It keeps on eroding."

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson has repeatedly said fixing the Lambert's Beach and Midge Point foreshores is a priority for the council.

He said he wanted Category D funding to be approved as soon as possible, and thought it would have been by now.

But the council is still waiting on the Category D funding package before fixing the foreshores.

Its options range from a cheap sand push to an expensive rock wall. But after delivering a tough budget, the council is reluctant to move on any of those options for fear the Federal Government will not allocate enough, or none at all, to do the project and the council will be left footing the bill.

"They could be playing that game, that council fix it from the pressure from residents, which would mean they put less dollars into the tin," Cr Williamson said.

"All we're doing is looking for the funding, and the state was very fast in submitting their application."

The State Government lodged its $212million package for Federal approval on May 11.

Since then the two governments have been in negotiations. The Feds asked for more documentation and the State provided it.

The final decision on what projects are worthy and how much will be spent on them will be made by the Federal Government. …

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