Report: Panorama Dve did not meet funding criteria

THE Queensland Audit Office has identified Livingstone Shire Council's Yeppoon Western Bypass as a project which secured millions of dollars of Royalties for Regions funding despite not meeting criteria.

The report by the office singled out the bypass as a case study of a project which was ineligible, but was given the green light by the former LNP government.

The report, tabled in Queensland Parliament on Tuesday, concluded that while the program delivered "much-needed infrastructure to regional communities", there were questions over whether it had achieved the best value for money.

"The question that remains unanswered is whether investing in other projects with relatively greater merit would have been a better use of scarce public resources," the report said.

The report found the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDIP) did not apply the grant assessment criteria consistently.

"It did not always sufficiently assess the eligibility and merits of all applications, nor did it consistently assess the costs and benefits of projects."

Rockhampton Regional Council put 28 applications into the Royalties for Regions program, only one of which was approved and totalled $1 million.

Livingstone Shire Council submitted eight applications and was successful with two, for a total of $17.5 million.

One of their successful projects was stage two of the Northern Strategic Link Road - Panorama Dve (Yeppoon Western Bypass).

In the report, this project was listed as one which was funded, despite being ineligible under the assessment criteria.

The report stated Livingstone Shire Council applied for $13 million of funding, with the total cost listed as $26.5 million.

It stated the project was in excess of the $10 million funding limit.

Additionally, the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) assessment of the project indicated it should not be funded because it was considered low priority under the criteria.

The report said the project should also have been considered ineligible because it was not on state-owned or council-owned road.

In a brief to the former DSDIP Minister Jeff Seeney in May 2014, it was proposed the project be approved on the condition funding was confirmed once cost estimates had been determined with DTMR.

Mr Seeney announced the project on April 9, 2014, before the project plan and project cost had been completed.



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