Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Costs for All Rockhampton Airport Repairs Unlikely to be Met

The chairman of the Queensland Flood Reconstruction Authority, Major General Mick Slater visited Rockhampton Monday 7 March, and spent hours listening to a detailed submission from Rockhampton Regional Council Mayor Brad Carter on the damage suffered by the Rockhampton region during the summer floods, and how to avoid a repeat. But if Cr Carter had been looking for a hint that he would get all he was asking for, he was disappointed.

While Major General Slater was confident the Queensland Reconstruction Authority would be able to deliver what Queensland needs, he indicated that the wish lists of wants, would be a different matter. “We will not have the capacity to deliver everything on wish lists”, he said.

Major General Slater said it was important that the whole board of the reconstruction authority had been able to visit Rockhampton yesterday, to develop a clear awareness of the region's needs and priorities.

The board and senior council representatives, together with members of Capricorn Tourism and Business Development, met in the boardroom at Rockhampton Airport. Afterwards, a bus tour of the airport compound allowed the visitors to see how much damage was caused when floodwaters spilled over the runway during January.

Currently, the airport's second runway (04/22) is still unusable, and one kilometre of the main runway (15/33) is out of service. About two kilometres of security fencing around the airport perimeter was flattened.

Plans for protective levee banks and the need to relocate the fuel store, were also explained to the board.

About $600,000 has been spent so far on essential repairs.

The council is hoping the reconstruction authority will agree to pay about $1.4 million for lost revenue and repairs at the airport and sanction the work necessary to protect it from future flooding.

The final amount the authority will have at its disposal has not yet been fixed. It will handle submissions from 68 local councils affected by the summer’s natural disasters and will also consider submissions from some industry bodies.

Cr Carter remains hopeful that those costs to pay for the lost revenue or repairs at the airport would not have to be borne by ratepayers.

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