Blackall Bungle: Missing Millions off the Ministers Mind

In a body blow to the drought-affected western Queensland township of Blackall, it seems that the Queensland Labor Government has bungled the funding of the $17.9 million Blackall Hospital redevelopment.

Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar is furious that when the State Government announced the upgrade - again - in the 2018-19 Budget, no mention was made of when the further $16.3 million in funding will flow through to the project

“I was hopeful in June when the Treasurer, in her Budget speech said “Whether you live in Brisbane or Blackall, Labor is doing the things we said we’d do” Mr Millar said.

“I hoped that meant that the State Government would deliver certainty to western Queensland and deliver the necessary funding for the Blackall Hospital redevelopment.

“Labor would like you to think this is a brand new announcement, but the sad reality is that they have rehashed a 2017 Budget commitment and failed to deliver $4.639 million of funding promised under last year’s budget.

“The 2017 Queensland Budget committed $5 million for the $17.3 million upgrade, but 2018 Budget papers show only $361,000 was spent in 2017-2018.  The missing $4.369 million has seemingly disappeared as the current budget makes an allocation of just $1.23 million for the 2018/19 financial year.

“So, two years later, the State Government has still not explained when it will fund the further $16.3 million needed to deliver the Blackall Hospital redevelopment, or when the project will be completed.

“It’s disgusting at a time when western Queenslanders are struggling through the seventh year of unrelenting drought, that the Treasurer and Health Minister would snub the community of Blackall like this.

“This week, I’ve lodged a formal Question on Notice to the Health Minister, asking the Minister to commit to fully funding the upgrades in the next State budget, and to provide a timeline of when the funds will be available.

“It amazes me that the State Government can find $500,000 at a drop of a hat to change the name of a hospital in Brisbane, and $47 million for a bicycle track in South Brisbane, but they can’t commit to fully funding these vital upgrades without constant prodding.

“Again and again – whether it’s failing to deliver renal dialysis services in rural Queensland, the dismantling of rural maternity services or failure to deliver the necessary funding for hospital upgrades, this Government shows its utter contempt for rural Queenslanders” Mr Millar said.

Mr Millar’s Question on Notice was lodged in Parliament on Tuesday 16th October and the Minister has 30 days to respond.