Beating the drum for Hamilton Plains
"ARE we waiting for Noah's Ark to come across Hamilton Plains?"
This is the question Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan put to the Queensland Government with respect to flood proofing the State Government controlled road from future weather events.
Hamilton Plains was inundated in the days following Cyclone Debbie, cutting off the route between Airlie Beach and Proserpine and making access to important facilities such as Proserpine Hospital impossible for Airlie Beach residents.
The road has a long history of flooding concerns with a flood camera installed by council for the purpose of allowing motorists to judge whether the journey to Proserpine or Airlie Beach via Hamilton Plains is possible during heavy downpours.
Mr Costigan said if the situation in March wasn't enough to justify flood mitigation funding for this year's budget, he was concerned nothing ever would.
"The cyclone happened in March and the budget came out on June, and it didn't get one red cent for flood mitigation on the back of the cyclone, so if we didn't see a good example for why it shouldn't be improved then we will never see one," he said.
"It's crucial we get this job done because the dislocation between the two communities whether it is the hospital in Proserpine, the schools in Proserpine, or the tourists in Airlie Beach, we can't put up with it any longer and nor should we."
This view was shared by Proserpine Chamber of Commerce vice president Andrew Barker.
"Most of the locals put up with it because its been like that for so many years but in this day and age it would be nice to have something down about it," Mr Barker said.
"If we are still able to get through even on those wet days we won't have all the disruption of not being able to get through which would be a god send.
"People change their lives because Hamilton Plains goes under water."
Mr Costigan brought Shadow LNP Tourism, Sports and Racing Minister Jon Krause to the road to stress the importance of getting something done.
Mr Krause said any potential commitments for the Whitsundays would be made "closer to the election".
"This is a big issue for Jason (Costigan) and this area and I understand that even better now having seen it," he said.
"I heard where the water went up to, just beneath the railway crossing sign which is a huge amount of water, it is hard to imagine."