The unsealed roads around the Mackay region will most likely not be fixed before the crushing season starts.
The unsealed roads around the Mackay region will most likely not be fixed before the crushing season starts. Fallon Hudson

Debbie ravaged roads won't be fixed before crushing starts

THE road to recovery for already battered Mackay cane growers could be a bumpy one.

There's a very good chance roads used to transport cane won't be fixed before the crushing season starts.

Cr Karen May, who heads Mackay Regional Council infrastructure and services standing committee said the council was working hard to assess how much damage Cyclone Debbie did to the road network.

It has even brought in external help to complete the assessment to speed up the process so the information can be handed to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority by May 27.

The QRA will then decide which road repairs will be funded by the State and Federal governments.

However, with the assessment finishing in more than two weeks and the crushing season most likely starting in a month Cr May said it would be difficult to get the approvals in time for the start of the crushing season.

Tying Mackay Regional Council's hands is that if it fixes the roads before the QRA has approved it for funding there is no guarantee it will be reimbursed for the work.

That has Mayor Greg Williamson calling on councillors to use whatever leverage they have to speed the process along.

"There is no doubt there is a large amount of work at hand but we need to try and make sure that State and Federal bureaucracy doesn't stand in our way," Cr Williamson said.

If it reached a point where the roads needed to be fixed to help cane get to the mills, he said the council would consult with Mackay Sugar to come up with a plan.

Cr May wants the public to know the council is working as quickly as it can.

"We are going through our process to make our assessment to pick up all the damage caused by Cyclone Debbie, because if we don't claim it under the NDRRA the ratepayers of Mackay will be footing the bill," she said.

 

The damage at Sichter St, Sarina.
The damage at Sichter St, Sarina. Tara Cassidy

She also said the council was prioritising fixing Sichter St at Sarina but it was too early know what to do just yet.

"Until we have the assessment of that bank and how to stabilise that bank we're not in a position to comment.

"It is all part of an assessment that needs to be done and council is moving as quickly as possible for work to commence there because we know the residents are uneasy."

 

Sichter St in Sarina collapsed in the recent floods leaving five home owners without street access to their properties.
Sichter St in Sarina collapsed in the recent floods leaving five home owners without street access to their properties. Tara Cassidy


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