Road damage 'probably worse than Debbie'
THE damage to the region's local road network from recent rain was probably worse than that caused by Tropical Cyclone Debbie, according to Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox.
"We look after more than 1780km of council maintained roads and initial reports from our road crews are that the damage is probably worse than that caused by Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017," Cr Willcox said.
Due to the extent of damage, the council had been activated for Disaster Recover Funding Arrangements from the state and federal governments and will lodge a submission to assist in the cost of repairing roads.
"There are specialist teams on the ground now assessing the damage to our council-funded roads as well as the Federal national highway network and the State major road network," Cr Willcox said.
"My council is committed to providing a road network that is safe and usable for our residents but the submission, assessment and approval process for external funding does take time."
Cr Willcox said the council was required to meet strict criteria regarding collection of evidence of the damage before undertaking repairs.
"I understand the length of time delays in getting approval can be frustrating and we appreciate our community's understanding that we are working through the 'red tape' as quick as we can," he said.
"In the meantime, council will undertake emergency temporary repairs where there has been significant damage and all works will be prioritised across the region."
Cr Willcox said the council would lobby all political parties to get the Bruce Highway not only fixed, but also improved, after 13 days of havoc with the road flooding several times.
This caused flights to be cancelled at Whitsunday Coast Airport, children having to leave school early on buses to get home while they could and fruit and vegetables being unable to make it all the way to regional supermarkets.
"The issue upsets everyone north of us. It's our main highway," Cr Willcox said.
"It's our job to be lobbying to get a larger share of the pie."
Cr Willcox has joined with mayors from councils in Mackay and Isaac to lobby governments together to improve the region's roads.
"We're already making a wish list," he said.
"The best thing is to get bi-partisan support.
"I'll work with anybody to get the best deal for the Whitsundays."