Rural roadworks in Noosa
Rural roadworks in Noosa Contributed

Upset at rural roads cash detour to coast project

A LACK of staff resources has been blamed in part for Noosa Council having to divert some of its $1million Roads to Recovery funding away from crucial hinterland road projects.

Instead that federal money will go towards Weyba Rd corridor improvements because the grants funding must be spent on projects that can be completed by the end of the financial year.

During the current budget review debate at the council's ordinary meeting, Councillor Ingrid Jackson was "very unhappy” with the intended reallocation of more than $1million in works for safety upgrades of Donellys Rd, Black Mountain works and the whole of shire reseal and rehabilitation program.

Speaking as "the voice of the hinterland”, she noted most of the 170km of gravel roads are in the hinterland.

However, council's corporate services director Michael Shave said: "We're not actually reallocating funding from the hinterland to the coast.

"What we're actually doing is reallocating the grant revenue so we don't lose it. The (hinterland) works will happen later in the (2017/18) financial year. It's a timing issue.”

Cr Jackson said to "rob” the Donnellys Rd project right now of $250,000 "is incorrect” and questioned the council method of budget review.

Cr Joe Jurisevic said: "It does appear as Cr Jackson suggests that they have been delayed.”

Mr Shave said staffing pressures and vacancies meant "there is a direct correlation between the ability of our guys to design up these projects and deliver”.

Cr Brian Stockwell said all councillors are aware that the safety of our rural roads is "really important and what we are doing is relocating how we spend the grants rather than changing a budget item”.

Mayor Tony Wellington said: "The increase in projects has been substantial yet we're not burrowing our way into debt, instead we're keeping our nostrils well above water.”