'We've been dudded' Costigan says
WE'VE been dudded - by both sides of politics Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan believes.
Firstly, the Whitsundays missed out in the post Cyclone Debbie State budget, he says.
Specifically, Mr Costigan thinks the cyclone highlighted the importance of projects such as the flood-proofing of Hamilton and Goorganga Plains.
And in the aftermath he thinks money should have been committed to rebuilding a Department of Transport and Main Roads office in Proserpine and fixing the devastation at Shute Harbour.
"When the budget came out I think even Labor people thought we were going to get some love for the Whitsundays, in fact I think people who were just ambivalent towards politics thought we were going to get some love here," he said.
"We had the conga line of politicians (here after the cyclone)... and then 12 weeks later or whatever it was, the state budget comes out... and I couldn't believe they didn't put one cent into the State road at Hamilton Plains.
"Here was an opportunity for them to show that they actually care, and say 'let's stop the disconnect every wet season... between Airlie Beach and Proserpine'."
"But guess what - we got big fat zero."
Mr Costigan notes there was also no funding for subsidised flights and no money for an array of projects brought into focus on the back of the cyclone.
"To me, we were dudded there. We were robbed. If there was one state budget that we were going to get some love it would have been right there and then," he said.
And to make things worse there's now the "furore going on about Category D" funding.
"And rightly so, because now we're being dudded by Canberra," Mr Costigan says.
Mr Costigan doesn't profess to know the "ins and outs" of the eligibility criteria for Category D funding, which is one of the sticking points between the Commonwealth and State.
"But I would have thought Shute Harbour, for example, (should meet the criteria)," he said.
"Shute Harbour's a prime example of where it got smashed by the cyclone - so it's not as if it's like a wish list, as though the council's trying to deceive Canberra."
Mr Costigan said he had only recently taken Senator Matt Canavan to Shute Harbour, to show him the impact of the cyclone on a place that was once the second busiest passenger port in the country.
As they stood looking out on the Lloyd Roberts Jetty, Mr Costigan reflected on the notion that Lloyd Roberts, the first Member for Whitsunday, "would be turning in his grave".
"He was a proud national party man whose vision was to promote tourism and promote the Whitsundays - and Shute Harbour carried his name for many years," he said.
So as well as lashing out about the State, Mr Costigan has now "basically put the acid on the Prime Minister to pull his finger out".
On Friday he drafted a letter to Malcolm Turnbull, inviting him back to the Whitsundays "to stand alongside myself and other elected representatives at Shute Harbour to announce an expanded package of disaster recovery payments to help our community to get back on track".
"I don't care if the Prime Minister's office gets uncomfortable with what I'm saying here... we have projects that I believe meet the criteria where Canberra has given us the 'up yours' signal," he said.
"The damage was significant... and we need a helping hand to put things back together."