Why are we wait­ing?

Call for ac­tion at VMR boat ramp

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

BOTH ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties pledged $3 mil­lion for an up­grade to Can­non­vale’s danger­ous VMR boat ramp in the State Gov­ern­ment elec­tion of Jan­uary 31, but nearly two months have now passed and noth­ing at the ramp has changed.

Whit­sun­day MP Ja­son Costi­gan con­firmed he re­cently met with lo­cal boat ramp ad­vo­cate Greg France who was anx­ious not to let the is­sue drop.

“[And] I’ll bang the drum more than the Bea­tles did... I’ll be mak­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the new min­is­ter for not only trans­port but also tourism to get [the new La­bor Gov­ern­ment] to de­liver it,” Mr Costi­gan said.

While on the one hand Mr Costi­gan said he would be “hold­ing them to ac­count”, on the other he stressed he wanted to “put the pol­i­tics out of it” and just get the job done.

How­ever, he still main­tained the boat ramp could have al­ready been built with money from the State Gov­ern­ment’s Roy­al­ties for the Re­gions funds un­der his pre­vi­ous watch

“Her wor­ship [the mayor] she’s out of line here... they made a de­ci­sion to put $5 mil­lion into a hin­ter­land road in the for­mer Bowen shire. I’m not say­ing it was a dud project... but the Coun­cil made the de­ci­sion ... they could have said to the Cham­ber of Com­merce ‘what so you think?’, they could have said to WMD (Whit­sun­days Mar­ket­ing and Devel­op­ment), or Greg France or [boat ramp ad­vo­cate] Bob Spees... or they could have said to me, ‘ what about you? You’re the gov­ern­ment MP... what do you think? Would you like to have some say?,” he said.

“Well I would have said ‘ you know what your wor­ship, maybe we should chase the money to build the VMR boat ramp and make it a safer fa­cil­ity to grow tourism and what-not. But guess what... I never had the phone call, I never had the con­ver­sa­tion and [now] ev­ery time [for­mer mayor] Mike Brunker goes up and down that road to his old stomp­ing ground to catch up with his old com­rades he has a bet­ter road.”

Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney re­sponded to this, as she has be­fore, by say­ing the boat ramp didn’t meet the cri­te­ria for Roy­al­ties to the Re­gions fund­ing.

Mr Costi­gan said “that’s just crap”.

Cr Whit­ney noted no recre­ational boat ramp fa­cil­i­ties had been funded through this pro­gram else­where in the state.

She also said Coun­cil had been driv­ing a mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the boat ramp de­sign that would work within the $3 mil­lion price tag.

She said she hoped to have a meet­ing with the boat ramp com­mit­tee next week.

Mean­while, yes­ter­day, La­bor’s Min­is­ter for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports, Mark Bai­ley, con­firmed the new La­bor Gov­ern­ment would be hon­our­ing their $3 mil­lion boat ramp pledge.

“I’m un­able to pro­vide a pre­cise timeline, but I’ve asked the depart­ment to act on this as quickly as pos­si­ble for the good peo­ple of the Whit­sun­days,” he said.

COM­MIT­TING: Elec­tion prom­ises made by Queens­land Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk (left) to fix the VMR boat ramp will be hon­oured, the Min­is­ter for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports has said this week. Ms Palaszczuk is pic­tured mak­ing the $3 mil­lion pledge in front of lo­cal boat ramp ad­vo­cate Bob Spees and for­mer ALP can­di­date Brown­wyn Taha in Jan­uary.

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