Mary Carroll says transforming the site into a tourism drawcard complete with a water feature, has to be a top priority for all candidates in the election.
Mary Carroll says transforming the site into a tourism drawcard complete with a water feature, has to be a top priority for all candidates in the election. Allan Reinikka

'Thanks for the down payment'

MARY Carroll has a simple message for Anna Bligh: "Thanks for the $1.36 million, but that leaves us $29 million short."

The chief executive of Capricorn Enterprise says she welcomes the government's pledge to the redevelopment of Yeppoon's foreshore, but all the candidates should know it will take at least $30 million to provide the kind of attraction the region is crying out for.

The Premier began her re-election campaign in Yeppoon yesterday by announcing a grant towards stage one of the planned transformation of the old hospital site.

But Ms Carroll, who heads up the regional tourism body, says it is time for the pollies to splurge some of the billions generated by coal and resources exports from CQ.

"Whichever party wins this election, this project must be considered a top priority," she said, adding that Yeppoon deserved to benefit from the type of infrastructure investments that other coastal towns had received.

She attacked the Department of Environment and Resource Management which is blocking commercial development of the site, calling the body's attitude negative and frustrating for all those who wanted progress.

Member for Keppel Paul Hoolihan welcomed the funding announced by Ms Bligh and said he would lobby for more assistance as the project took shape.

He said he understood the clamour for a water park.

But he said there were restrictions on what could be built because of the storm tide inundation designation instigated by the former Livingstone Shire Council.

He said the shape that future development took would rest with the Rockhampton Regional Council.

If Labor wins the election and provides the promised $1.36 million, the council will still have to find at least $2.7 million to pay for the first phase of redevelopment which includes landscaping and grassing the site, providing barbecues and picnic areas and some car parking.

Local councillor Bill Ludwig called Labor's pledge "insulting" and "a hollow promise".

"Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach and Mackay have all received mega millions in state funding for 'drawcard' tourist projects."

"I have a damning e-mail from a well-known Labor councillor effectively boasting the ALP did not need to provide funding for major projects in Rockhampton region because it is one of the safest ALP strongholds.

"We need to change that situation at the ballot box if we are ever to get our fair share.

"Our region deserves better, and a fair share of the mining wealth we produce," Cr Ludwig said.



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