Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt has written to the Mayor of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council (CCRC) Bill Shannon asking him to confirm that the Council would continue to have the Innisfail Library project as a top priority.
In February during the state election campaign, Labor announced that the CCRC would receive a contribution of $2 million to construct a state-of-the-art library with a re-elected Labor Government. Of that amount, $1.2 million was already guaranteed under the Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program (LGGSP) and the remaining $800,000 was an election commitment.
Mr Pitt said the announcement was met with great appreciation by the local community and in particular the Residents for the Restoration of Innisfail Library group.
“Upon making this announcement, it was understood that Labor’s funding commitment would be matched by the LNP if they were to win government,” Mr Pitt said.
“Last week I wrote to Mayor of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council (CCRC) Bill Shannon asking him to confirm that the Council would continue to carry through with the Library project, and the funding would be used to progress the Community Hub Project, with the first stage consisting of the replacement Innisfail Library.
“It seems that now there’s some disagreement within the LNP government about whether the full $2 million commitment was actually agreed to.
“I find this extraordinary given that the commitment to match Labor’s commitment from then Shadow Treasurer Tim Nicholl’s office was confirmed in the Innisfail Advocate on February 25 not once, but twice.
“This commitment that was made by the LNP was reiterated in the Innisfail Advocate again in last Saturday’s paper.
The Innisfail Library has been operating out of temporary and unsuitable facilities since Cyclone Larry in 2006.
Mr Pitt said he’d been working on this issue since 2009 and the Residents for the Restoration of Innisfail Library group and some local Councillors for even longer.
“It’s my understanding that there still exists $1.24 million which is the amount council received from sale of the old library and insurance monies to add to the state contribution of $2 million (total of $3.24 million) and that approximately $5 million will deliver a new library,” Mr Pitt said.
“I think this was confirmed by the Mayor who said in February:
“We also have the money from the sale of the old library but we might have to adjust the project to fit the budget which will most likely mean staging it.” *
“Even though there’s $2 million on the table, I’m certainly aware that the overall hub construction will only be possible if an additional contribution from the Federal Government under funds available from Regional Development Australia (RDA) is provided in future rounds.
“In the meantime the first stage consisting of the replacement Innisfail Library can go ahead with the support of the Council.
“The library, as the first stage of the Cassowary Coast Community Hub, will enhance the quality of life in the region through access to learning resources and cultural facilities and will support an estimated 50 construction jobs.
“I’m concerned that in reneging on the commitment to match Labor’s commitment at the last election, the LNP will not only be disappointing a large number of people within the Innisfail community, but they will also be slurring the reputation of a journalist at the Innisfail Advocate who has faithfully reported the matching of $2 million.
“It’s my hope that the CCRC can deliver this project for the community of Innisfail and the Cassowary Coast with the assistance of this new government in Queensland.”