Is the PM's funding for Rookwood Weir off the table?
FEDERAL Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry is firing up about the Palaszczuk Government's "hiding of a positive report” on Rookwood Weir.
Ms Landry said Central Queenslanders had been crying out for help, but the Queensland Government had been "sitting on their hands and ignoring this report”.
Details emerged today that the Palaszczuk Government has ignored an assessment by the Gladstone Area Water Board, which found the weir would have major economic benefits to the region.
Ms Landry said that earlier in the year Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about a $260 million funding for the weir project, but no action had been taken on behalf on the Premier.
She told the Morning Bulletin that she assumes, given the procrastination by the Premier, that the PM's funding offer was now off the table.
"Months and months went by and nothing happened. We did not hear from the Premier about this and then we find out that Mark Bailey, the Water Minister, did not even know about that offer,” Ms Landry said.
"Tim Nicholls has said that if elected, in the first 100 days there would be $1.3 billion on the table for water infrastructure projects in Queensland; $130 million for Rookwood Weir.”
LNP candidate Douglas Rodgers said that the party promised to have the Rookwood Weir paperwork sorted within the first 100 days of a successful election and built over the next two dry seasons.
"I think one of the most concerning thing that we've seen through this campaign...the idea that there's been yet another hidden report by this Palaszczuk government that points to the fact that we desperately need to build the infrastructure that we as a party, the LNP, have been talking about for months and it's just not good enough...They hid a report about a coal-fired power station...and they've now hidden a report on Rookwood Weir,” Mr Rodgers said.
"Mark Bailey's go-to-line seems to be 'I didn't know', well it's not good enough for a Minster to say they didn't know about something within their portfolio that's been going on for months...They've had over 500 days to get the business case completed and the Labor party will literally do anything they can to ensure that infrastructure is not built in Central Queensland and Green votes in Brisbane are kept safe.”
Mr Rodgers said that the Weir will bring $1 billion to agriculture locally and would provide over 2000 jobs in the local economy.
The Palaszczuk Government says the report identified by The Morning Bulletin today is not the independent business case supporting construction of the weir.
However, no further mention was made of the report in a written statement.
The Labor party said the number stated by Ms Landry is double the original Federal commitment of $130 million, and Mr Bailey wrote to then Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on October 20 seeking confirmation that the Turnbull Government had increased its funding commitment to the project.
Ms Palaszczuk's office also reported that Mr Joyce's original verbal offer of increased funding in June was quickly quashed by a senior public servant before the Palaszczuk Government could follow it up.
"Tim Nicholls has made a commitment without knowing what the Federal Government has actually committed to, or whether it stacks up in any other way,” Mr Bailey said.
"Malcolm Turnbull needs to clarify in writing what the Federal Government is prepared to invest in this project.
"Is it $130 million like Tim Nicholls says or $260 million like Michelle Landry says?”