Andrew Laming on Weinam Creek meeting
I invited both Andrew and Tom to make a written commentary on the Weinam Ck. meeting. I have tried to contact Green’s Emerald Moon as well, but to no avail – I’ll keep trying.
Comments on meeting.
The recent parking rally at Weinam exposed how divided the community is on transport infrastructure. That does show a lack of direction from State government, and through them, Council.
This wasn’t the forum for federal candidates, but I committed because Labor avoided a similar meeting on Russell Island last month. Astonishingly after claiming she was busy ‘preparing for Parliament’ (we both had Parliament that week), she was photographed waltzing around the mainland at the time of the meeting. Increasingly Stephanie Morris in Kim’s office acts as a de facto MP, heading off anything that looks like an awkward issue for her boss.
Parking is a local issue searching for local solutions. I have encouraged all these reps to show up in future. It isn’t easy to jump on a stage in front of a frustrated crowd, but in a world where social media dominates, where locals show up, their reps must make an extra effort to do the same. I committed at the start of my career to get involved in any issue (not just federal) after first allowing the responsible level of Government a chance to do their job unimpeded. I also warmly welcome that scrutiny when the shoe is on the other foot. State Governments of all colours have failed so many times that now it is a street fight for any advance whatsoever.
A great example of this is Transport Minister Mark Bailey hitting Redlands up for $400,000 a year for the cost of inter-island travel. Back when Translink was introduced the cost of card readers on every island ruled out interisland fares, so those costs were built into the mainland leg calculations. A close read of the initial documents indeed shows that free interisland legs was never etched in stone and this has allowed State Labor to up the rent on islanders indirectly, but extorting the money from Council. Sure the local MP says free interisland trips are here to stay. That allows her Minister to hack the money out of locals in other ways.
You would expect me to be tough on our Labor State representative and I am. After an admirable start, we are now seeing a repetitive standard of behaviour where she sticks with Labor-friendly Councillors and attends carefully screened events. But she cant escape local transport issues because they are entirely State matters. Council operate with limited powers within State rules, leasing State land and operating carparks.
My preferred solution is a Weinam upgrade with public and private funds, and a multi-level carpark sensibly located within that precinct. No political party (including mine) has shown a willingness to invest, leaving Council with a wicked challenge. I continue to commit to infrastructure upgrades like road, hospitals and schools, with one condition. The State Government must apply. Last time I funded a road upgrade without the State applying, they refused to open the gift, then ran a campaign saying I break my promises.
That is why with my commitment to a multi-story carpark at Redland Hospital, I have asked State Labor for the scope and cost of the project, in order to assess value for money. They ran for their lives. State Labor has ripped $39million out of Metro South last year (hitting Redland Hospital hardest) and are doing the same cut again this year. Now they insist a carpark will cost $38million. It seems a little ironic, when car park builders and quantity surveyors have priced the job at $18million, stating that we could have an underground multi-level carpark for the prices Labor are quoting. The reality we all know is that the $38million is actually frittered away in Union-friendly EBA agreements with up to $50 per hour site allowances on top of wages; rewarding thuggery and excluding small non-Unionised workers from sites. And that my friends, is why Queensland has such an infastructure deficit. You are paying $38million for carparks worth $18million, with the difference transferred into Union friendly pockets. Ask me about the extortion at Queens Wharf. Worth thinking about next time you are searching for a park and wondering who is actually on your side.