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Mayors cry foul over disaster funding changes

By Emma Pollard, Monday February 4, 2013 - 12:46 EDT
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Logan Mayor Pam Parker says it is unfair on people who paid the flood levy after the 2011 disasters. - ABC

Queensland councils say ratepayers could be left with huge flood damage bills because of changes to Commonwealth disaster funding.

Moreton Bay Mayor Allan Sutherland says ex-tropical cyclone Oswald caused more than $20 million worth of damage in his region.

He says the Federal Government tightened disaster funding guidelines after the 2011 floods.

"They're more specific in what you can apply for now - a lot of the things we'd normally apply for have been ruled out," he said.

"What they intend to cover is basic transport infrastructure.

"They want to get the road networks up and working but a playing field, a clubhouse, a recreational bike facility, they don't count anymore.

"They used to count - the rest is up to local government to stump."

Logan Mayor Pam Parker says the changes are unfair on residents who paid the flood levy after the last round of disasters.

"Now it's Logan's time to need assistance to get back on our feet and we're hearing the criteria has been changed," she said.

"It's not a level playing field.

"We're happy to help people in their time of need but when our time of need comes Logan needs that support as well.

"Local government collects 4 per cent of the revenue in taxes, State Government gets 16 per cent and the Federal Government gets 80 per cent."

The Queensland Government wants the Commonwealth to help build stronger infrastructure in flood-prone areas.

The new Community Recovery Minister David Crisafulli says current rules only allow for "like-for-like" reconstruction.

"It is absurd that we continue to replace the same bits of infrastructure with like-for-like and it gets ripped up," he said.

"In some cases I've stood on bridges that have been replaced three and four times in the last five years."


© ABC 2013

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