‘Empty fish tank’ bat­tle

Pilbara News - - Pilbara | News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan has thrown shade at North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia, stat­ing she would be happy to let him cut the rib­bon for an “empty fish tank”.

Last month, Mr Cata­nia called on the Shire of Ex­mouth to open the Nin­ga­loo Cen­tre to the pub­lic to let lo­cals see in­side the cen­tre ahead of its of­fi­cial open­ing.

He also sug­gested the State Gov­ern­ment should hand him the rib­bon-cut­ting scis­sors given La­bor had been crit­i­cal of the project.

Ms MacTier­nan said Mr Cata­nia’s of­fer to open the cen­tre was in­trigu­ing.

“We will be happy to of­fer Vince the op­por­tu­nity to open an empty fish tank, which ap­par­ently will re­main un­filled be­cause the Shire can’t af­ford to op­er­ate it,” she said. “Af­ter ap­proach­ing and meet­ing with the UWA vicechan­cel­lor, we are pleased that the univer­sity has in­di­cated it is pre­pared to pay a higher lease fee to ten­ant the fa­cil­ity.

“This marks a pos­i­tive step for­ward for the project.”

Mr Cata­nia said he would be hon­oured to un­veil the cen­tre.

“I look for­ward to see­ing a project I sup­ported and got fund­ing for through to the end,” he said. “La­bor say it is an empty fish tank — I say the La­bor party has pro­duced empty com­mit­ments when it comes to Roy­al­ties for Re­gions.” Mr Cata­nia said peo­ple who had been through the cen­tre could see the ben­e­fits it would bring to the town.

The Nin­ga­loo Cen­tre is one of 26 projects started un­der the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment which will be sub­ject to an in­quiry into se­cret gov­ern­ment con­tracts launched by Premier Mark McGowan in May.

The in­quiry is seek­ing to find out why State debt has risen sig­nif­i­cantly de­spite hav­ing gone through a min­ing boom un­der the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.

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