DELIVERERS: Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Blair MP Shayne Neumann announce $10 million in flood funds in 2013.
DELIVERERS: Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Blair MP Shayne Neumann announce $10 million in flood funds in 2013. File

Harding takes the credit for Shayne’s hard work

TERESA Harding stands accused of taking credit for the work of Blair MP Shayne Neumann in a development that could have massive repercussions at the July 2 election.

The LNP’s Blair candidate said in Friday’s QT that she and the Coalition had delivered $13 million of flood mitigation funding for eight projects within the city of Ipswich, projects put forward by Ipswich City Council after the 2013 floods.

But former Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood has told the QT the funding was delivered and budgeted for by the former Gillard Government in 2013 and that Mr Neumann was the one who lobbied for the funds, not Ms Harding.

Mr Attwood said that the LNP cut the funding (in 2013) and that Ipswich City Council had to lobby to get the funds reinstalled, which the Coalition then did under the Roads to Recovery program

Mr Attwood approached Ms Harding at pre-poll in Ipswich yesterday and told her to “stop taking credit for Shayne’s work”.

The QT covered the announcement by Ms Gillard for the Ipswich flood mitigation projects in the March 1, 2013 edition where she committed $10 million under the National Insurance Affordability Initiative to Ipswich for the improvements.

Ms Harding told the QT yesterday that Ms Gillard’s commitment was just an election promise but Mr Attwood said Ms Harding had her facts wrong.

“We had to give Julia Gillard a list of flood mitigation projects – eight or nine- and that was a funding commitment that was budgeted for by the government outside the election cycle,” Mr Attwood said.

“After the election the current LNP government tried to stop the funding and said it was an election commitment, when it wasn’t.

“The council had documentation to prove that and it took us 18 months to get the money out of them.

“But Teresa Harding did not get the funding at all. Shayne did. That is why I said to her at the polling booth to ‘stop taking credit for Shayne Neumann’s hard work’.

Ms Harding stuck to her story yesterday and said the flood mitigation funds, which tallied over $13 million, was “an election commitment I made with (Senator) George Brandis three years ago”.

“But it was just an election promise by Labor. They never signed any funding agreements,” she said.

“We both promised it, the Turnbull Government got in and executed a funding agreement with the council.”

The QT has spoken to councillors close to the securing of the funds who reject Ms Harding’s claims and confirmed Mr Neumann had lobbied hard for the funds and secured them in close consultation with the office of now Labor Leader Bill Shorten.

“It was announced by the Prime Minister in Ipswich in February and put it in the budget in May of 2013 under the National Insurance Affordability Initiative,” Mr Neumann said.

“What Harding is doing here is taking credit for something we budgeted for, when she had absolutely nothing to do with it.

“They tried to rip the money away in the MYEFO (mid-year economic and fiscal outlook) and rip up the agreement with the council in December of 2013.

“But if it was just an election promise, why did they cancel the program?

“They ripped up the program but they couldn’t take the money from Ipswich after council kicked up such a stink.

“So they put the money back in. But it was money I had secured.”



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