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Don't placate me: stern warning for Rocky mayor

Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten with some photographs from early in his career, from the archives of The Morning Bulletin. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten with some photographs from early in his career, from the archives of The Morning Bulletin. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK081211srob1

FORMER Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten says he will not be silenced or bought.

Mr Schwarten has broken his silence to issue a stern warning to Mayor Margaret Strelow after the Rockhampton Regional Council's decision to name a road after him.

He says while he is honoured, he is still angry over the mayor's decision to take money from the Fitzroy Riverbank redevelopment and instead spend it on the Gracemere Industrial Area.

"I'm honoured by the decision to name the road after me," he told The Morning Bulletin yesterday.

"But I can assure people I feel the same as I did on day one. The decision to take the money away from the riverbank was underhanded and stupid."

Cr Strelow has suggested a road created by the $50m Gracemere overpass, between Malchi Nine Mile Rd and Boongary Rd, be named Robert Schwarten Rd.

"Robert got the money for that overpass and I think there's some fundamental rightness," Cr Strelow told councillors during last Tuesday's meeting.

Since then Mr Schwarten said there had been accusations Cr Strelow had bought his silence over her decision to transfer almost $6m of State Government funding he had secured for the riverbank redevelopment to the Gracemere Industrial Area.

Mr Schwarten said people had told him the naming of the road was a "smokescreen" Cr Strelow was using before a seven-and-a-half week holiday.

He described the lengthy holiday as "the kind of thing that gave politicians a bad name".

Cr Strelow was yesterday unable to comment as she was on holidays in England.

But she said on Facebook she would also use the time to grieve for her mother, who died in March.

Read Mr Schwarten's letter to the editor in tomorrow's paper.

 

GRACEMERE OVERPASS TIMELINE

May 2010: State Government announced $10 million state funding to commence planning works for a new road and rail overpass to provide access to industrial land south of the Capricorn Highway, between Gracemere and Kabra.

August 2011: a total of $50 million was committed to the Gracemere Industrial Access Project by the State Government which saw construction commence in January 2012, with the overpass and access road expected to open for use in early 2013, weather permitting.

February 2013: overpass expected opening.

Topics:  gracemere overpass, margaret strelow, robert schwarten, rockhampton regional council



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