No need to increase rates, Mayor
IT COULD be next year before Ipswich’s flood-ravaged roads are fully repaired, but Mayor Paul Pisasale has promised rates won’t rise to pay for the road to recovery.
A dispute this week between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman centred on whether the Federal Government would pay for damaged public infrastructure.
Cr Pisasale said Ipswich’s damages bill was still estimated at $100 million, largely made up of $40 million for roads and bridges and $50 million for parks.
“We’ve been given $2.8 million for the emergency road repairs and we’re putting submissions together for the other stuff,” he said.
He said Ipswich was different to Brisbane because it didn’t have public property, such as ferries and car parks, which charged people to use.
“What the Prime Minister said is the government wouldn’t pay to fix anything councils charge for,” he said.
“We’re a free city. I think we’ve got nothing to worry about.
“I’ve had personal confirmation from the Prime Minister. She looked in my eye and shook my hand and said: ‘I’m not going to let you or Queensland down’.
“That’s good enough for me.
The Prime Minister’s word is her bond. I’m putting all the rumours aside and getting on with business.
“The State and Federal governments have a responsibility to fix things. That’s what has happened after every other natural disaster. There’ll be no need to increase rates.”
The Prime Minister said reports the Federal Government was walking away from its financial obligations were untrue.
“We needed to find ways to fund it and in order to do that we would make room on the Commonwealth budget through cuts and reprioritising and deferrals and we would ask Australians to make a contribution,” Ms Gillard said in Parliament this week. “That is what I said when I announced the levy. That is what I stand by.”
She said under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements with the states and territories, the Commonwealth would meet the majority of the rebuilding cost.
“We will work closely with the Queensland Floods Recovery Authority and state and local governments as they co-ordinate the statewide rebuilding program,” she said
Still, Ipswich City Council is expecting to take up to 12 months to fix road damage caused by the floods and heavy rain.
City works chairman Trevor Nardi said the council was doing its best to deal with the problem but there were hundreds of thousands of potholes and other damage on Ipswich roads.
He said the council was prioritising larger potholes in flood-affected areas, but more were being continually reported.