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Newman can do but council is lagging on flood mitigation

IN CHARGE: An aerial photo of the 2013 Gympie flood – the Premier has told Gympie Regional Council to hurry up and “deal with the issue”.
IN CHARGE: An aerial photo of the 2013 Gympie flood – the Premier has told Gympie Regional Council to hurry up and “deal with the issue”.

PREMIER Campbell Newman said if Gympie Regional Council could outline a definitive plan in relation to flood mitigation to better protect homes and businesses in the city the government would be happy to help.

He said several councils across the state who experienced flooding over the past two years have been successful in obtaining funding for flood mitigation projects, but Gympie Regional Council had simply not made a decision about how it wanted to proceed.

It has been two years this week since the Liberal National Party swept into power and in doing so registering the biggest win in Australian political history.

Mr Newman, talking exclusively to APN Newsdesk to mark the anniversary, said the council needed to start talking with the community so the government could get a better understanding of what plans it had in mind to help protect homes and businesses from future flooding.

"After the flood last year we made it very clear we had a policy of betterment and that we wanted to help communities with flood mitigation schemes," he said.

"Gympie has not made a decision, is my recollection of where we are.

"The way it works is the councils are in charge of their patch.

"They need to deal with the issue, they need to talk to the Gympie community, they need to come up with a plan the people agree with and then come to the state for funding and we will be delighted to help them."

He said the recent announcement of the Mary Valley quarter horse initiative was something he was particularly looking forward to seeing come to fruition as it formed an important aspect of the revitalisation of the region.

Mr Newman, reflecting on his first two years in office, said the toughest thing he faced was the task of balancing the budget and the affects it had.

"That meant a whole lot of people in the public service losing their jobs," he said.

"That was really tough on all the people concerned, their families and their friends.

"We did not like having to do it, but it had to be done.

"I am really sorry it had to happen, but if it had not have happened then all Queenslanders would have been paying for government expenses that were out of control."

Mr Newman said one of the highlights over the past two years was how the government had turned around the ailing health system to make it one of the best performing in the nation.

"Two years ago the health system was a shambles," he said.

"Emergency departments are now far better and elective surgery waiting lists are now the best in the nation according to the Australian Medical Association," he said.

"Public dental waiting lists have also been slashed.

"The results speak for themselves and that is something we are extremely proud of. Queenslanders should be proud that they are seeing their health service turned around.

"It was supposedly a complete basket case and the person who said that was former Premier Anna Bligh."

Topics:  campbell newman gympie regional council

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