Somerset refute Neumann comment

SOMERSET Regional Council (SRC) has hit back at Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, for his claims that council did not request enough money from the State and Federal Government for flood recovery.

SRC requested $48 million from the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to fix flood damaged and ruined infrastructure across the Somerset region.

Mr Neumann was quoted in The Queensland Times on April 20, claiming the amount requested was too low and questioned whether SRC had properly investigated the damage.

Somerset Regional Councillor, Neil Zabel, said the comments made by Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann were in poor taste.

“I take exception to the remarks made by Mr Neumann,” Cr Zabel said.

Somerset Regional Mayor, Graeme Lehmann, said the claim made by council was honest.

“The last thing we wanted to do is rip the Government off and have to pay them back,” he said.

“We have invited Mr Neumann to attend a council meeting here, but so far he has declined.”

Cr Bruce Pearce said it was a shame the comments were made publicly.

“Mr Neumann was misinformed and hasn't got all the facts and by the looks of it included the Main Roads damage to the council damage total,” Cr Pearce said.

.”

Somerset Regional Council CEO, Bob Bain, said the figure was only preliminary and that council had hired an independent group of engineers to investigate how much infrastructure needed to be fixed.

Mr Neumann said the comments were meant only to express his surprise.

“I was a bit surprised and concerned that the amount they had requested was only $48 million as I would have thought the damage done to the Somerset Region, which is the biggest in South East Queensland, would have been of a higher amount,” he said.

“Since that time I was told the CEO has said it was only a preliminary claim,” he said.

“As I said then, I'm no engineer, but I was surprised it was as low as it was and I think a lot of Somerset residents would agree with that.”

Mr Neumann said has raised a number of issues about flood recovery brought to him by constituents but was happy to work with SRC.


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