Uncertainty remains over seawall funding

Funding for the Torres Strait Coastal Protection Works (Seawalls) Project remains uncertain despite the issue being raised at the Senate Estimates earlier this month.

At the Rural and Regional Committee hearing on 18th of November, Labor Senator Jan McLucas sought clarity regarding the status of the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) contracts.  In June 2012, the federal government pledged a total of $12 million towards the Torres Strait Seawalls Project, which $5 million was to be sourced from RDAF and the remaining $7 million from Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.  This funding was matched by the Queensland Government through the Major Infrastructure Program earlier this year.

However the RDAF contract between Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) and Torres Strait Island Regional Council was not finalised before September’s federal election, leaving doubts about whether the funding will be honoured by the new Abbott Government.

TSRA appeared before the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee on 22nd of November to express their concern about the funding uncertainty.

Torres Strait Islanders and their family and friends are being urged to show their support by asking the Prime Minister to uphold the funding promise by signing an online petition available at: http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/prime-minister-tony-abbott-deliver-promised-funding-for-seawalls-in-the-torres-strait

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