What fell off the park at Lambert's Beach due to the erosion from Cyclone Debbie has just been left there and was still there on Tuesday.
What fell off the park at Lambert's Beach due to the erosion from Cyclone Debbie has just been left there and was still there on Tuesday. Campbell Gellie

100 days after Debbie: Where's the funding?

ONE hundred days have passed since Cyclone Debbie crashed over the coast, but still the community at Lambert's Beach waits for funding to fix its destroyed foreshore.

Erosion has left the shoreline in ruins. There's a 3-metre drop-off, bollards are sitting at the bottom of the beach and the cliff continues to collapse.

But plans to fix the foreshore are on hold because of a political tussle between state and federal governments over how much money will be made available in Category D disaster relief funding.

Meanwhile, residents say it is a disaster waiting to happen and fear children could be trapped if the wall of sand collapses on them.

"It is disgusting. It is a danger waiting to happen," Lambert's Beach resident Connie Dixon said of the eroded beach. "It's just a matter of time before it entraps a kid who is playing in it.

"More has gone since it happened. It keeps on eroding."


>>Mayors could be competing over final Cat D funding

>>Minister 'probed' for the funding answers

>>$220m package to rebuild infrastructure Debbie barely touched


Damage after Cyclone Debbie tore through Lambert's Beach. Photos courtesy of Michael Kennedy/National Drones Mackay.
drone footage taken in the days after Cyclone Debbie tore through, before the toilet block was removed. Michael Kennedy/National Drones

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson has repeatedly said fixing the Lambert's Beach and Midge Point foreshores is a priority for the council.

He said he wanted Category D funding to be approved as soon as possible, and thought it would have been by now.

But the council is still waiting on the Category D funding package before fixing the foreshores.

Its options range from a cheap sand push to an expensive rock wall. But after delivering a tough budget, the council is reluctant to move on any of those options for fear the Federal Government will not allocate enough, or none at all, to do the project and the council will be left footing the bill.

"They could be playing that game, that council fix it from the pressure from residents, which would mean they put less dollars into the tin," Cr Williamson said.

"All we're doing is looking for the funding, and the state was very fast in submitting their application."

The State Government lodged its $212million package for Federal approval on May 11.

Since then the two governments have been in negotiations. The Feds asked for more documentation and the State provided it.

The final decision on what projects are worthy and how much will be spent on them will be made by the Federal Government.

Member for Dawson George Christensen said the reason the application hadn't been approved yet was because the State's application had a "complete lack of information" about the extent of the damage.

"Additional information was therefore required from the Queensland Government to support their application to ensure an appropriate assessment can be undertaken," he said.

"All available impact data is currently being considered by the Australian Government, in accordance with the NDRRA process, as quickly as possible.

"This is a significant amount of money that has been requested and we have a responsibility to Australian taxpayers to do out due diligence."

But State Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the Federal Government was holding Queensland to ransom by "inventing" these paperwork problems.

"(The application) has been sitting in Canberra for almost two months. In contrast, when Cyclone Oswald hit in 2013 the Gillard Government turned around the Category D request in two days," Ms Trad said.

"The facts are that we submitted a detailed business case for Category D funding to the Commonwealth on May 11, 2017.

"Through several discussions - including a face to face meeting on May 22 - the Commonwealth requested additional information, which we provided to them promptly.

"The last of the requested information was provided to the Commonwealth on June 8 and we have not been asked to provide any further information since then.

"The QRA has also been in regular contact with Emergency Management Australia to check the status of the application and we have been advised on multiple occasions that no additional information is required."

Meanwhile, every day, Slade Point resident Rob Jorgensen picks up rubbish and rocks at the park at Lambert's Beach.

She said it was "lousy" that the community was just left to wait for something that obviously needed to be fixed.

"If we were in Brisbane it would be done right away," she said. "It's sad it has taken this long but it is what you come to expect."