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Federal and state bureaucratic blame game hurts Ipswich

THE DAMAGE DONE: Ipswich is still waiting for federal funding to address 2013 flood damage.
THE DAMAGE DONE: Ipswich is still waiting for federal funding to address 2013 flood damage. Rob Williams

THE $10 million in flood mitigation funding promised to Ipswich City Council over 18 months ago has become a pawn in a political blame game and Cr David Pahlke has had enough.

The money was promised by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard in February last year to fund nine flood mitigation projects in the Ipswich region after the city and its environs were again decimated by a natural disaster.

The QT reported yesterday how Ipswich West MP Sean Choat had investigated the hold-up and discovered that a bureaucratic stuff-up in Canberra was to blame in the delay.

Mr Choat said that Local Government Minister David Crisafulli had signed off on the paperwork two months ago. The delay was with bureaucrats in Finance Minister Mathias Cormann's office and the hold-up was "with Canberra's end".

Mr Cormann's office said yesterday the paperwork only landed on the minister's desk yesterday and the delay was not at their end.

Meanwhile, Mr Crisafulli's office confirmed yesterday that the minister had signed off on the funding and they were not to blame for any delay.

The funding is to be released by the Federal Government to the State Government for disbursement to the Ipswich City Council.

This story has become a political ping pong of epic proportions.

But Cr Pahlke is ropable that Ipswich is about to enter another flood season while the vital funding, promised more than 18 months ago, has still not been provided.

Cr Pahlke was scathing of the lack of urgency shown by both state and federal governments and what he called "the blame game" that has infected the political process.

He has called on the finance minister to pay the money direct to council and "cut out the middle man".

"Someone is telling pork pies," Cr Pahlke said.

"I am not blaming Sean Choat, but this current State Government under Campbell Newman leaves a lot to be desired.

"Where is our money Mr Newman? Where is our money Mr Crisafulli?

"If the paperwork was really only sent through yesterday, what have you been doing all these months?

"I asked a girl in (Mr Cormann's office) how long it was going to be before the paperwork was sent back and she said some time this week.

"I said 'send it to Ipswich City Council direct'.

"Stuff the state. Leave them out of it."

Cr Pahlke said it was "no wonder people are turning to the Palmer Party".

"This is just a typical blame game and I am sick of it.

"And the average resident is sick of it too … and they are sick of politics in this country.

"If it is true that Canberra only received the paperwork yesterday, then the minister's office in George St needs to come clean.

"I think someone has been telling Sean Choat some pork pies too."

Mr Crisafulli pointed the finger at the former Federal Government and the bureaucracy who he said "let the people of Ipswich down".

"We are working with Minister Cormann to make this project a reality," he said.

Topics:  david pahlke, flood mitigation, sean choat



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