Grim diagnosis as Rockhampton Hospital car park war erupts
A SERIOUS case of 'red tape' disease seems to have broken out at the site of the proposed new Rockhampton Hospital car park with symptoms including passing the buck and clogged communication arteries.
The first signs of the disease, common among opposing political parties, began to show following the release of the Federal Budget 2017-18 on Tuesday night with a lack of clarity surrounding whether the Federal Government had included their $7 million Rockhampton Hospital car park funding promise in the Budget.
The $7m promise was made during the 2016 Federal Election campaign bolstering the $21m allocated to the project by the Queensland Government.
Tenders have been short-listed for the 500-bay, multi-level facility with demolition works beginning at the site last week.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga on Wednesday launched an attack on Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry over the funding, claiming the long-awaited car park had been "forgotten" by the Federal Government.
Mrs Lauga said Ms Landry should be "embarrassed and ashamed" for "deceiving staff, patients and visitors to the hospital" by "falsely promising funds".
"Despite promises before the last election by the Federal Member Michelle Landry, to fund $7 million for the hospital car park, the money is missing in the Budget papers," she said.
"This is a disgraceful reflection on how little Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison cares about Queenslanders, and even how little his government cares about Queensland MLAs.
"This multi-storey car park has been years in the planning by the Queensland Government, which recognised the need for patients and visitors, and pledged millions to the project."
The Federal Member responded by encouraging Mrs Lauga to "get her facts straight" before claiming the Queensland Government was delaying the release of the $7m in funding.
Ms Landry said the funding for the Rockhampton Hospital car park was allocated in the Federal Budget through the Community Development Grants Program.
"There are over 500 projects in this program and as with all other key programs, each individual project is not singled out in the budget papers," Ms Landry said.
"The Department of Infrastructure is currently working with Queensland Health. The latest correspondence was sent to Queensland Health on May 1 requesting information so the funding can be settled.
"Any delay in releasing funding is, once again, solely at the hands of Ms Lauga's own government.
"As soon as the information is provided, it will take four weeks for the funding to be released."
But Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick threw more fuel on the political fire when he revealed another twist.
Minister Dick said the Turnbull government had held back the funding and blamed the Palaszczuk government for not providing information which they were aware was unavailable. He said the Turnbull government was demanding to know who had won the tender for the car park construction before they release the $7m.
"Queensland Health submitted the application in December 2016 for the much-needed car park and now Michelle Landry says she and the Prime Minister can only stay true to their word if the Department can give them the name of the preferred tenderer for the project," Mr Dick said.
"The State Government cannot advise who a preferred tenderer is without having finalised the evaluation process, as Michelle Landry is well aware.
"Queensland Health says without an executed Deed of Agreement with the Commonwealth, a contract cannot be awarded to a successful tenderer.
"I am not willing to compromise the integrity of a tender process for an important capital works project merely because the Turnbull government is unwilling to make good a 10-month-old election commitment."
The Minister said without the promised $7m, the project would have to be scaled back or delayed.
"We have finalised the business case, commenced early works, and almost finalised the tender process," Mr Dick said.
"Where I come from, a promise is a promise - no ifs or buts. Michelle Landry and Malcolm Turnbull need to keep their promise and put the disclaimers aside for the sake of the people of Rockhampton."
"I have written a letter to Senator Fiona Nash, the Federal Minister for Regional Development, requesting a draft contract for the funding."