The LGAQ and several councils hit by Tropical Cyclone Marcia last week are redoubling efforts to convince the Federal Government to ensure councils are able to claim back the costs of using their own staff for recovery and restoration work following natural disasters.
The destruction and dislocation caused by TC Marcia has forced councils to get their workers out into the field rapidly to assess impacts on council assets.
However, the continued prohibition on using council “day labour” under natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements has led to rising fear among councils affected as to how much their communities will have to spend to get back on their feet.
North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh said: “At the moment Council is needing to put staff in the field to access assets, gather information on community requirements and begin the recovery process.”
“If we do this it won’t be funded by NDRAA”.
“Our people know the local conditions, understand our assets and know the best and most efficient to address the community need.”
Cr Waugh said the Day labour Value for Money trial that North Burnett was involved in following the 2013 floods found that recovery and reconstruction work performed by the Council’s own day labour was 31 percent more efficient than similar work by external contractors.
“This clearly demonstrates the value for money proposition of using day labour, local people and local government plant,’’ he said.
He said the other matter that Canberra should focus on in the wake of TC Marcia was the so-called “betterment” of public infrastructure to withstand future natural disasters..
“The North Burnett has some assets that were destroyed in 2010 – and rebuilt, destroyed in 2013 – and rebuilt and have again been destroyed in the weekend cyclone,’’ he said.
“During the 2013 event North Burnett worked with the Queensland Government to implement two significant infrastructure projects under the betterment program. These assets, the Mundubbera – Gayndah road and the Gayndah Water Supply have easily withstood this cyclone.”