Council wants its $10 million from Federal Government
BUREAUCRATIC bungling is to blame for $10 million in flood mitigation funding not being paid by the Federal Government to Ipswich City Council.
But there is disagreement between the Queensland and federal governments about who is to blame.
The funds were promised by former prime minister Julia Gillard on a visit to Ipswich in February, 2013 for nine flood mitigation projects.
It was part of a $45 million package to help Queenslanders recover and rebuild after the Australia Day floods.
The change of government occurred in September last year and on December 24, 2013 Cr David Pahlke spoke to the QT and called on the new government to deliver the funds.
Cr Pahlke raised the issue again yesterday and the QT was told the funding had been allocated, but the paper work had been filled out incorrectly.
Ipswich West MP Sean Choat said the funds were to be distributed by the Federal Government to the State Government for release to council.
Mr Choat contacted Local Government Minister David Crisafulli's office and said he was told the funding had been signed off and sent to Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann's office two months ago.
Mr Choat said yesterday "bureaucracy has been the problem" and the hold-up was "with the Canberra end".
But the QT spoke to Mr Cormann's office today and was told the paperwork only arrived on the minister's desk yesterday and that the delays had not been caused at the Canberra end.
The QT understands the Finance Minister will act on the funding as a matter of priority.
As the local member, Mr Choat said on Monday he would investigate the matter to expedite the release of the funds.
"I have confirmed with Minister Crisafulli's office that the federal office had to confirm the allocation of the funds in the 2013-14 budget and apparently it had been instigated under the wrong ministerial delegation," he said. "It is the Federal Finance Minister that has the delegation to sign off on the funding, but the Federal Government ministerial details were not correct
"If it is just a matter of a title being changed, then just fix it.
"I believe the mistake has been rectified, but I can't believe these bureaucrats are taking so long to deal with this."
But Mr Cormann's office disputes that version of events.
Told about the developments, Cr Pahlke said "someone has to be made accountable" for the fact that promised funding had been delayed for so long for such vital projects.
He called on all parties to "stop playing politics".
"Here we are coming into another summer and we are still waiting for funding that was promised in February last year," he said. "It was important for me, because $1.8 million was for Thagoona and $3 million was to go towards Rosewood for flood levees and construction.
"There are seven other council projects in there.
"Julia Gillard thought this was highly important, and my thanks to (Blair MP) Shayne Neumann for getting the money at the time, but now it seems to have fallen in a hole.
"I say to all parties - federal and state - 'get off your bum, make the phone call and get the money into the Ipswich City Council account'.
"Enough excuses. Enough bureaucratic bungling. Enough delays. Just show us your money."
Mr Choat said "the state ministerial office has agreed to advise me the minute the funds are available and they will be transferred to council immediately".
"I have expressed my disappointment that the funds have not yet been transferred from Canberra. This is unacceptable," Mr Choat said.
"I want to make sure these flood measures are in place before we get any heavy rain."