News

Controversy continues over spending on roads

BEFORE AND AFTER: Council spent more than $490,000 on repairing Doherty Street in Proserpine with NDRRA approved funding of $107,981.
BEFORE AND AFTER: Council spent more than $490,000 on repairing Doherty Street in Proserpine with NDRRA approved funding of $107,981.

THE controversy surrounding Whitsunday Regional Council's budget black hole centres around the spending of State and Federal Government money on fixing flood damaged roads.

Mayor Jennifer Whitney and CEO Scott Waters called a press conference on Tuesday to discuss the over-spend.

Mr Waters opened the press conference by saying this was about presenting "bare facts".

He said there was no politics involved and that a very complex situation had occurred.

Mr Waters presented figures showing the State Government had approved works to the value of $87.9 million - but the former council had spent $106.7 million.

He said a freeze had been put on all "non-essential expenditure" for the current financial year.

This comes after Cr Whitney announced last week that the former council had over-spent in relation to funds provided under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) program administered by the State Government. Mr Waters said the NDRRA program was not meant to be a capital works program - it was meant to just be used to fix flood damaged roads.

He said new kerbs, gutter and channelling were not eligible under the program.

"The program was about common sense and restoration, not full reconstruction or betterment," he said.

"It was not to be utilised as a secondary capital works program."

One example was Doherty Street in Proserpine where more than $490,000 was spent on improvements but the NDRRA funding was only approved for $107,981.

Mr Waters said this was a rural road that needed some work but a full reconstruction was not required and the extra work was not eligible for funding under the NDRRA program.

"What should have been applied was a very simple re-seal," he said.

Mr Waters said Council would now have to pay in cases where over-spends had occurred because of ineligible work being completed.

He said Council was continuing to work with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and the Queensland Audit Office.

Cr Whitney confirmed again that the over-spend and deficit should not cause an increase in rates in the current financial year and she said she knew ratepayers couldn't afford big increases.

"We need to look at running the organisation more efficiently," she said.

Former mayor Mike Brunker said yesterday Cr Whitney herself had cost council $400,000 by procrastinating over a decision on the main street in Airlie Beach - and come up with the same decision as the former council.

He said councillors were there to make policy decisions and that it was up to the staff to run the jobs.

He said councillors did not get involved in the day to day direction of staff.

"She doesn't understand how it works," he said.


Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Witnesses wanted to Airlie Beach assault

Generic polic sign Photo Contributed

Police are seeking information about an assault in Airlie Beach

Snake bite in Airlie

Ambulance with lights on Photo Tony Martin / Daily Mercury

Snake bite at Airlie Beach residence.

Information night for the potentially fatal Hendra virus

Tegan King, Jason Mansfield and Jodie Russell outside the Proserpine Vet Surgery holding information and products necessary for horse vaccinations. Photo Inge Hansen / Whitsunday Coast Guardian.

Deadly Hendra virus one of the scariest things for Proserpine vet

Latest deals and offers

Three missing, five in danger after boat capsizes near Bowen

INITIAL reports suggest two people are standing on top of the upturned boat, while three people are unaccounted for.

VIDEO: The fastest, easiest way to peel a potato?

There is a fast way to peel potatoes.

This 30-second video shows how quickly you can peel a potato

Two vehicle crash on Shute Harbour Road

An 80 year old woman was hit by a car on Shute Harbour Road this afternoon. Photo Inge Hansen / Whitsunday Times.

Elderly woman released from hospital after two vehicle crash.

Brahmans break Norths

WEAVE: David Kay comes up against a pair of Norths defenders on Saturday night.

Brahmans break Norths

Witnesses wanted to Airlie Beach assault

Generic polic sign Photo Contributed

Police are seeking information about an assault in Airlie Beach

Premier men yet to be defeated

FLEET FEET: Amy Scanlon leaves a Lions defender in her wake at the weekend.

Premier men yet to be defeated

City’s most eligible bachelors go up for auction

Australia's favourite redhead twins and celebrity bachelors Stevie and Andy Mac will perform and be auctioned off at the Pink Hope Charity Male Auction Gala.

All women need to do is bid for the man who catches their eye

How to peel a potato fast

There is a fast way to peel potatoes.

You've been doing it wrong all this time.

Johnny Depp thinks Barnaby Joyce is inbred with a tomato.

Johnny Depp on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Johnny Depp explains his apology video on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

IBAC Evidence Police Bashing 5

Officers drag the woman back to her cell

In this video the woman drinks water from the toilet.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked

Caloundra’s former Centrepoint Buffet site up for sale

FOR SALE: The home of the old Centrepoint Buffet

Restaurant fined for unhygienic practices closed months ago