Rocky Stadium project pushes forward despite Labor criticism
THE Rocky Stadium project is pushing ahead despite Federal Labor exploring the possibility of the $23 million grant being pulled if the site was deemed unsuitable.
During last week’s Senate Estimates, member of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) Committee, Queensland Senator Murray Watt, grilled a government spokesperson on asking what was happening with the stadium’s funding, project time lines, whether the project was value for money and what would happen if issues were identified such as the site being flood-prone or situated on a former dump site.
Dr Rachel Bacon from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development explained the next step following the government’s announcement for a project was for it to issue a request for information to the grant recipient (Rocky Sports Club), allowing the department to undertake a value with public money assessment.
“We’re preparing that request at the moment and it hasn’t yet been sent to the grant recipient,” Dr Bacon said.
“As soon as we get that back, it will include information on the likely time frames for the project and we will work with the grant recipient around milestones so that we can hold project proponents to account.”
While they were focused on delivering the government’s objectives, she acknowledged there were some instances when the government was not satisfied with the information it was provided for a project and acted accordingly – but that was rare (less than one per cent of the time).
“At the end of the day, if the criteria (including value for money) and published guidelines are not met, a grant may be terminated,” she said.
Speaking with Capricornia MP Michelle Landry and local LNP candidates for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins and Keppel Adrian de Groot on Wednesday morning, Rocky Sports Club co-founder Gavin Shuker confirmed they were yet to receive a letter from the department requesting more information.
“We’re full steam ahead. We’ve met with Paynters who built Redcliffe (stadium), which is what we based a lot of our multi-use purpose facility which is going to get used by the entire community,” Mr Shuker said.
“The money’s been funded in the budget. We’re working with Michelle to get the actual paperwork.”
Mr Shuker angrily rejected the Labor-driven suggestions the proposed stadium site was not up to scratch saying it was “scaremongering” and Labor was “completely incorrect”.
Based on the geotechnical work they had done on the proposed Rocky Stadium site, Mr Shuker said it was determined it was not a former dump site.
He said Labor kept incorrectly referring to “flood water” being an issue when, since the introduction of the one-way drainage valves, the site’s only drainage problem revolved around still water collecting on surface.
“We’ve talked to Paynters, we’ve got consultants and we’ve got no issues with that whatsoever,” he said.
He praised both Pauline Hanson and Michelle Landry for working to deliver the Rocky Stadium for the community, saying the Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Senator Watt should be trying to help projects like the Rocky Stadium get up.
“The community’s sick of people not working together. Politicians are elected to try and stand up for the people that they’re trying to represent,” he said.
“For (Labor) to be sitting in the background trying to take pot shots at what we are, we’re a not-for-profit community club, I just think it shows the character of these people.
“Here, you’ve got a group that is for the community, that loves Rockhampton and just wants infrastructure for Rockhampton. We hope (politicians) can concentrate on what they’re doing good for the community rather than attacking and negative politics.”
Ms Landry said her government had been working closely with the Rocky Sports Club and she believed it was important for the stadium project to go forward.
“Unlike Labor who have put $25 million towards part of a stadium, the $23 million that we’ve committed, that was in our budget, is going to make this happen,” Ms Landry said.
“This is going to be a stadium for a lot of people.”
She said people were sick of the negativity of the Labor Party and its attacks on the project.
“These are hardworking people that have put their lifeblood into doing this and I’m 100 per cent behind them,” she said.
Senator Watt and Labor’s candidate for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke have been contacted for further comment.