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Flood Recovery Works Continue on Shire's Essential Infrastructure Network

8 December 2016

Detailed inspections of Council infrastructure assets across the Shire are commencing, as the flood recovery process continues.

Council has estimated through inspections completed to date, close to $27M damage to roads, footpaths, dam walls, bridges, culverts, open drains and stormwater network due to the September floods, with issues affecting the essential infrastructure network throughout the entire region, extending well beyond the major problems experienced in Coleraine and Dunkeld.

The repair bill, which is estimated to be about 15 times Council’s annual road maintenance spend, is sourced from the Federal and State Government under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

CEO Michael Tudball has stressed that the recovery process will be a challenging time for both Council and the Community.

“Unfortunately, Council cannot just go out and fix the problems as it finds them. The Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements require a strong degree of scrutiny to ensure that taxpayer’s money is not misused. This means that all works have to be accurately quantified and approved by an auditor before the money can be spent. The works then have to go through a contracting or quotation process to ensure that they provide value for the money”.
“It’s going to be a long process for everyone and we thank the community for their continued patience” Mr Tudball said.

The infrastructure recovery program is going to be completed over the next two years (up to June 2019). To comply with the guidelines around Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery funding, additional staff and resources have been brought in to complete the recovery processes so Council staff can continue with business as usual and ensure delivery of the regular capital works program.

“We also have to be wary of making improvements, throughout the recovery process. While works are being completed, we are only funded to get the back to the condition they were prior to the flood damage. We need to build to today’s construction standards, but not make improvements. Any betterment of assets would need to be funded by Council and these have not been budgeted for” Mr Tudball continued.

“There will be many sites across the shire controlled by safety signage for an extended period. Road users need to be mindful that safety signage is there for a purpose. We ask that everyone exercise caution, especially throughout the busy Christmas period and always drive to the conditions Mr Tudball concluded.

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