The newly renovated Tropical Vibes on Great Keppel Island is getting rave reviews from customers.
The newly renovated Tropical Vibes on Great Keppel Island is getting rave reviews from customers. Contributed

Lauga and Landry go head to head on health and tourism

BRITTANY Lauga has called on newly elected Capricornia MP Michelle Landry to match Labor's election commitments to Great Keppel Island and Rockhampton Hospital's mental health ward and cardiac centre.

The Keppel MP said Labor's pledges of $25million to GKI, $11.1million to the cardiac theatre and $8.2million for refurbishment of the mental health ward were critical projects that Ms Landry should match.

She said "not one cent" of Ms Landry's election commitments had been allocated to health services.

"Mental health facilities are particularly in need with the Rockhampton Hospital facility drastically out of date and in need of major refurbishment," Ms Lauga said.

Ms Landry, who is in Canberra to be sworn in as the Assistant Minister for Children and Families, said she was happy to hear about projects the hospital might be interested in funding but disputed claims the Federal Government was not taking up the pledge for better health services in the Rockhampton Region.

She said, since elected in 2013, Federal funding for the CQHHS had increased by 94 per cent but it was the State Government which was responsible for running the health system.

"I am proud to have delivered the $7million it took to kickstart the new carpark at the Rockhampton Hospital," Ms Landry said.

"Unfortunately, since (this State Government) came to power, they tell us they've done a lot of hiring but what we get is a deterioration in the services provided by our hospital network.

"We continue to see maternity services removed from country communities, patients continue to suffer longer and longer wait times for important surgeries, failures in recruitment mean our local hospitals rely on locums, and we have seen patients turned away from receiving care recently because hospitals simply couldn't cope with demand."



Rockhampton     Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison ROK290816chospital6

Funding for power and water to Great Keppel Island has been a contentious issue since the last state election where Ms Lauga committed to a $25million GKI recovery package.

The package included key power and water connections to the mainland, sewerage treatment, a public jetty and boat ramp as well as amenities for visitors, including public toilets.

Final costings and a business case are still outstanding as the State Government continues to lobby the Federal Government to match the funding.

Mrs Lauga said the State Government had now committed $29million to the package but that Ms Landry had been "wishy-washy" about her support, backing it but not finding any money to fund it.

"The (State) Government has committed $29million for power and water from the mainland to the island, and a matching amount from the LNP government would help kickstart this tourism jewel with enormous economic and social benefits," she said.

But Ms Landry said she had been "absolutely consistent" when it comes to Great Keppel Island.

"I would love to see it return to its former glory, but the taxpayer will not put money into a project without knowing the total cost," she said.

"If the State Government really wishes to attract federal funding for this project they will make a genuine approach to me with full detailed plan and costings."

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