“It’s time to ‘talk turkey’: Katter backs flood-ravaged outback council”

Apr 21, 2023

Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has called on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to open up its purse strings and ensure outback Queensland councils, including those who communities were devastated by flood events earlier in the year, are not forgotten.

Mr Katter fronted the media in Brisbane yesterday alongside Burke Shire Council Mayor, Ernie Camp, and Deputy Mayor, Tonya Murray, to lay the shire’s priorities on the table.

The local mayors lead a delegation to Brisbane this week, during which they met with a series of Ministers and Shadow Ministers, to raise their flood-ravaged communities’ concerns ahead of the June State Budget.

The targeted list of projects includes $75 million for raising crossings and raising the bridges at the Nicholson and Gregory rivers and support to designate the Gulf Savannah Way highway between Normanton and Borroloola as ‘Highway One’, which could one day continue to Broome and ultimately provide a loop around Australia.

“We need the State and Federal governments to help us with funding as we have a very small rate base with just over 220 rate payers,” Cr Camp said.

“We know the Gulf of Carpentaria floods every single year, but these events are exceeding all known records and becoming closer together.

“We had been flooded since Christmas, with roads only opening up in the last couple of weeks.

“We need the Government to help us to improve resilience, we know resilience won’t happen overnight but we need to get started.”

Mr Katter said he stood staunchly behind Burke Shire Council, and all the councils in his electorate, as they lobbied the Brisbane-centric State Government on behalf of their communities.

“This is brilliant advocacy on behalf of Burke Shire Council, and it comes off the back of some very trying times – locals are still counting the cost of the monsoon event that was overwhelming for many in its severity,” he said.

“We have had dialogue and some support from the State Government during this event and these kind gestures are nice, but it’s time to talk turkey – we need to build some resilience off the back of these floods.

“It’s time for action – you simply can’t have towns cut off for three months like we have seen when there are viable solutions to prevent this.

“Let’s get to work and see what we can do to mitigate the effects of these events in future.”

Mr Katter said Burke Shire Council’s requests were economically minor when considered against the scale of the State and Federal Government’s investment in Brisbane ahead of the 2032 Olympic Games.

“What we say is have your Games, have your party down in the south-east corner, but don’t forget those of us up here in the engine room of the State working to keep things going,” he said.