Pollies' battle over Rookwood funding
GRAB your popcorn and strap in.
This war over funding the Rookwood Weir is heating up with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and Queensland Water Supply Minister Mark Bailey trading barbs over Facebook yesterday.
The Morning Bulletin opened a can of worms yesterday regarding a verbal offer made by Prime Minister Turnbull to the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to double funding for the Rookwood Weir to $260 million.
With Ms Landry maintaining the offer was made and not acted on by the Premier and Mr Bailey demanding a formal written offer for the funding, the stage was set for a classic Facebook stoush for the ages.
Mr Bailey took to Facebook to say that the Turnbull Government has never written to the Palaszczuk Government formally offering full funding at any stage saying $130 million was a huge amount of taxpayers funds and that's how it would have to occur.
"Where is the formal letter from federal government minister to Queensland Government offering this?” Mr Bailey said.
"If you can't produce it, you should apologise now for not telling the truth.”
Ms Landry responded to the Minister saying, "Hi Mark, The Prime Minister made the offer to the Premier at COAG earlier this year.
"The fact you'll only accept a letter suggests you know too well this was offered verbally and your Premier has not acted on it, is this closer to the truth?”
Mark Bailey replied, "You're seriously suggesting an appropriate offer of $130 million in public money could be made only verbally? It's 2017, not Bjelke Peterson era paper bag era...”
"Any real offer of this magnitude would be made in writing with appropriate clearances. It hasn't been. Time to stop misleading Central Queenslanders with cheap politicking.”
Ms Landry shot back accusing Mr Bailey of hiding behind the business case for Rookwood Weir before making a veiled swipe regarding the controversy involving the deletion of a private email address for which Mr Bailey was subsequently cleared.
With the massive funding offer for the construction of the Rookwood Weir project now out in the open, the Queensland Premier has come forward requesting formal documentation of the funding.
"The Palaszczuk Government has yet to receive a letter from the Federal Government, however we would welcome a letter clarifying the funding commitments,” the Premier's spokesperson said yesterday.
The Morning Bulletin has approached Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Senator Matt Canavan for comment regarding whether the funding offer made at COAG was still on the table and whether they were willing to make a formal written funding offer for the $260 million to the Queensland Government.
Out-going Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne was over the moon when he picked up the paper and learnt about the $260 million offer today.
"If that's the case well Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" Mr Byrne said.
"If the feds are prepared to whack in a straight up grant of $260 million on the table or in fact the full price of the readjusted capital investment necessary to build the weir, just give us the money to build it and we'll worry about operating it.
"That would be something very keenly looked at, I can assure you.
"But I haven't seen anything other than what's in the paper today and of course the paper's the only source of accurate information you ever get in Rockhampton,” he said with a possible trace of sarcasm.