MP George Christensen and Mayor Andrew Willcox
MP George Christensen and Mayor Andrew Willcox Claudia Alp

New disaster funding for new centre in Proserpine

THE Proserpine Council Chambers have become the site of a new natural disaster management centre and innovation hub after the Federal Government pledged $3.6 million towards the project this week.

Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen and Mayor Andrew Willcox announced the funding outside the damaged council chambers on Tuesday, which will be demolished to make way for the centre.

The building will serve as a disaster coordination and community resilience centre and new council chambers with a second floor acting as a climate change innovation hub.

Cr Willcox said the funding was an immense win for ratepayers as well as community resilience in the face of natural disasters.

"What this means for the Whitsunday community is in times of disaster, in times of a cyclone, we will be ready and we will be able to have all our emergency services in one location, in a solid facility, to be able to then look after our community,” Cr Willcox said.

"What this funding will allow us to do is build a good quality and a very resilient disaster management centre, and a climate change innovation hub as well as rebuild our council chambers. "(The) council's not having to dip into ratepayer's pockets that little bit extra to be able to fund it, so it's a blessing for ratepayers.”

Mr Christensen said the centre was intended to increase pro-activity in countering future disasters as well as create jobs in the region.

"This is not just a centre that will kick into action once disaster strikes,” he said. "It's a centre that will be there trying to build community capacity and resilience before a disaster strikes.

"PROSERPINE'S been doing it tough since Cyclone Debbie. The council's going to punch back into local outfits and local suppliers so that will be a godsend for the region, the economy and for local jobs.”

Cr Willcox emphasised the ongoing benefits of the centre for creating jobs in the Whitsundays suggesting that the climate change innovation hub could even attract scientists to the region.

"It's a win in terms of community resilience because we know we need to be strong as a community facing these cyclones, but also the ongoing jobs that are going to be created,” he said. "If we can get that research capacity in around natural disaster management and community resilience to disasters and climate science, then that's an extra added benefit for the region that we don't have at the moment.”

Cr Willcox said that the demolition of the Council Chambers in Proserpine should start in approximately 2-3 weeks and was hopeful that the project would be completed within 12 months.

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