House debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023


Bowman Electorate: Community Infrastructure

4:39 pm

Photo of Henry PikeHenry Pike (Bowman, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

As another parliamentary sitting week draws to a close, I want to update the House on my progress to hold the government to account on the promises they made to my electorate of Bowman. During last year's federal election, the Labor opposition made $4.6 million in local sporting and community commitments to organisations within the Redlands. These clubs and associations have been waiting anxiously for news over the subsequent 10 months to find out if and when these commitments will be honoured by the new government.

Despite a long campaign of letters, media pressure and speeches in this place, it was only this week that I finally got confirmation from the government that funding for these commitments will come from the $349.9 million contained in the budget under the Investing in Our Communities Program. I note that these commitments were made for this parliamentary term, but this funding stream is over five years, extending not just beyond this term of parliament but beyond the forward estimates. Given the uncertainties of the world and our economic situation, I worry that funding commitments made beyond the budget cycle offer little certainty to these organisations within the Redlands. Given we are 10 months into this three-year term and the government is yet to engage with these groups on the delivery of these projects, I have little confidence that these projects will be delivered before we next go to the polls, but I will be working with these groups to try to expedite the delivery of this funding over the coming months.

But let's look at the entire quantum of funding for my electorate. If you look at the total funding for closed grants programs contained in the budget which are earmarked to deliver the government's election commitments, projects in Bowman represent a mere 0.341 per cent of the total funding within these two streams. When I put that into an Excel spreadsheet, the calculation actually came up as zero; I had to change the settings to find that number. I stand here as one of 151 members of this chamber. My community should be receiving a 150th share of the funding. Instead, we are receiving a one-in-293 share. So why does my community get about half of what we're due? Is it something to do with the fact that the Liberal Party has held the seat of Bowman for the past 19 years? I think we all know the answer to that one.

I also want to update the House on some big commitments made by the former coalition government for projects within my electorate which the new government is required to honour in order that these projects may be completed. The previous federal government announced $3.4 million over four years to deliver a new Head to Health facility in the new satellite hospital that's being built at Weinam Creek in Redland Bay. When I wrote to the minister to ask what's happening with this funding, I was informed that they're going back to the drawing board. They're going back to ask the state government and the primary health networks to resubmit their proposals for this funding. I wrote to the minister again last month, with no response to date. Despite my continual requests for an update on this program, there's been no word and no clarity on the future of this funding from this Labor government.

We've also got the Redland Hospital stage 1 expansion project. Back in May 2019 the federal Liberal and Nationals government committed $30 million to this project. I understand that $13.2 million is yet to be paid and is expected to be payable upon acceptance of a progress report for that project. I'll be working to ensure that the federal government is held to account on honouring this commitment and that the state government is held to account in delivering this project. I'm sure, Mr Speaker, that if you could pass that message on to anyone you know within your networks who control the purse strings within the Queensland government, that would be greatly appreciated.

Another concerning silence from this government is on the future of projects contained in the South East Queensland City Deal. The promised implementation plan was due at the end of last year and has failed to materialise. For my community, the city deal contains a commitment of $41 million for the Dunwich harbour upgrade on North Stradbroke Island, along with other projects that would be suitable for funding under the city deal's liveability and planning funding pools. This year is supposed to see the first annual progress report for the South East Queensland City Deal. I can only imagine that the progress report is currently a blank page, because we haven't seen any progress from the new government in delivering these projects or even an outline of who is going to pay for what.

Unfortunately, this is becoming a pattern for the new government; they promise one thing before the election and pursue quite a different agenda afterwards. We know what is happening to all these national promises that have occurred. I won't run through them now due to time, but I will continue in my efforts to hold the government to account on the promises that they've made to my community. (Time expired)