Inspectorate says council’s disaster repairs on track

THE Gladstone Regional Council has been given a tick of approval after government officials visited disaster-hit areas of the region on Thursday.

Australian Government Reconstruction Inspectorate chair John Fahey said members were concerned when they visited last year.

"We had some concerns 13 months ago, because they were fairly slow to get going with the applications for the assessment of the damage," he said.

"That seems to have all disappeared."

Officials visited Figtree Rd, Tableland Rd culvert, Double Ck bridge in Calliope and the Awoonga Dam Rd to inspect the progress of disaster reconstruction.

"They gave us a fairly graphic slideshow of the damage this year," Mr Fahey said.

"The cost of that damage is yet to be calculated.

"Indications show that it could be more than what occurred in the 2010/11 summer and that was about $85 million.

"And that didn't surprise me when I saw some of the culverts, creeks and bridges in the slideshows."

Reconstruction under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) is funded 75% by the national government and 25% from the state government.

The Inspectorate's role is to ensure value for money and accountability measures in projects.

"I think I can say with a level of confidence, that the progress of supervision is going well," Mr Fahey said.

"We can only do some random examination, so randomly at the desktop level and then we send an expert out to look onsite.

"All of that tells you we are cutting back to the point of ensuring there is no extravagance in the way of spending our money."

Mr Fahey said there were limitations to what the money could be spent on.

"We can only repair back to the condition it was before the floods," he said.

"I think we all get frustrated with that. At least we have the ability to get us back to where we used to be."

Mr Fahey said they have had few complaints to investigate.

"We eliminate as far as possible the indirect costs," he said.

"We are interested in seeing as much money as possible go into roads, culverts and bridges.

"And I believe that is occurring."

The inspectorate travelled onto the Banana region yesterday.