NORTH Queenslanders will be very sceptical when asked to provide input on naming a bridge over the Pioneer River. The Department of Transport and Main Roads had started a “Community Consultation Process for the naming of structures on the Mackay Ring Road project”. When the Queensland Government consults the people before naming four bridges on the Mackay Ring Road, the public has two questions:
- Is Bridgey McBridgeface a valid suggestion
- Has the outcome already been decided?
The public could be forgiven for being sceptical about how far their suggestions will go and doubting the ideas will make it any further than the wastepaper basket. It was the Queensland Labor government that insisted the name of the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital name had to be changed at a cost of $500,000, arguing that it would attract more funding. Except after the name change, millionaire philanthropists Judith and Trevor St Baker vowed to avoid funding the hospital in the future and hospital donations went down by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The real scandal was the rigged poll Labor ran around the name change, where just 74 IP addresses voted Yes in the poll nearly 18,000 times. Just 24 IP addresses voted more than 10,500 times. A large number of the IP addresses were identified as being used by Queensland government entities including Ministerial Services and Queensland Health.
The Crime and Corruption Commission later released a damning statement on the public poll but decided not to launch a full corruption investigation due to the cost and problematic data.
The Queensland government will have to provide greater guarantees around transparency before the public will take them seriously. I welcome the locals having a say in what the bridges are called but I don’t welcome the Brisbane Bureaucrats having not just a say but the final say – especially if they make the decision before the public is even asked.
Submissions can be made at www.tmr.qld.gov.au/MackayRingRoad and Mr Andrew encouraged locals to have their say through www.KickStartQueensland.com.au