Call for better infrastructure after flooding

Call for better infrastructure after flooding

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Road confetti: Government attention has turned to infrastructure across north west Queensland that has been destroyed by floodwaters. Picture: Queensland Rail.

Road confetti: Government attention has turned to infrastructure across north west Queensland that has been destroyed by floodwaters. Picture: Queensland Rail.

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Rebuilding a tougher and more resilient north west Queensland should be the priority for those in charge.

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REBUILDING a tougher and more resilient north west Queensland should be the priority for those in charge of dealing with the unprecedented flooding disaster that has struck the region, community leaders say.

As the response moves from the initial disaster phase to recovery, there are calls for vital infrastructure to be rebuilt to withstand the harsh conditions in the region.

LNP Senate candidate Susan McDonald said she would be pushing for roads, rail and additional dams to be restored or built to a superior standard.

Mrs McDonald said serious investment was needed to ensure cattle producers and smaller communities could thrive into the future.

"As we move through the immediate disaster response into recovery, as a nation we need to take the opportunity to be more strategic in our investments and build serious infrastructure to allow the north and north west to rebuild as one of the great food, particularly beef production areas, in the world.

"The rail line, which has been patched up for years now, there is the opportunity to rebuild a world class facility, as well as roads, airstrips. 

"I will be advocating that the infrastructure rebuilding focuses on dams also, and allows producers to invest back into their properties.

Damage to the Mount Isa line. Photo-Queensland Rail.

Damage to the Mount Isa line. Photo-Queensland Rail.

"It is important to not cost this flood on the value of the stock lost, we have to remember that the multiplier of that stock is the value the industry gives to the nation, which is many times over."

More than 400 workers are being mobilised to fix the damaged Mount Isa rail line between Richmond and Oorindi and repair trains began operating through the area on Monday. 

Queensland Rail CEO Nick Easy estimated the repairs will take eight to 12 weeks, to finish between late April and mid-May.

A dedicated taskforce created by Queensland Rail met in Townsville for the first time on Monday and will coordinate the efforts of engineers and track workers.

The Flinders Highway, among the thousands of kilometres of roads damaged during the flooding, was due to reopen on Wednesday.

Traeger MP Robbie Katter said reopening the Mount Isa-Townsville rail should be an immediate infrastructure priority so mining could continue to bring much needed funds to the region.

"The immediate work remains critical infrastructure in the cattle industry like roads, replacement of destroyed fencing and water facilities so that we can start to try and restock paddocks," Mr Katter said.

"The mining industry has had its major arteries cut in the roads and the rail.

Damage to the Mount Isa line. Photo-Queensland Rail.

Damage to the Mount Isa line. Photo-Queensland Rail.

"A fair bit of the track is still floating in thin air with major parts of the base blown out by the water.  

"Incitec Pivot has indicated that they are losing $10 million per week and if this goes into months then this will start to mean peoples jobs."

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey described the damage as having turned "sections of the Flinders Highway into road confetti". 

“I was picking up bits of the road and bending them easily, like putty in my hands, so that gives you an indication of how much water has gone through there," he said. 

Damage to the Mount Isa line. Photo-Queensland Rail.

Damage to the Mount Isa line. Photo-Queensland Rail.

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