Bureaucrat says sorry for the demolition of historic wall
REDBANK RSL Sub-Branch life member Billy Bowtell received a personal apology from a senior government bureaucrat for the destruction of a heritage-listed Second World War rifle range wall at Redbank.
As reported by the QT on Saturday, a Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) contractor bulldozed the historic wall to the ground in an act that infuriated the Redbank RSL members.
Mr Bowtell, who was in the army during the Second World War, had trained at the site as a young man.
DTMR acting deputy director-general Ryan Huelin spoke to Mr Bowtell by phone yesterday and apologised on behalf of his department.
"We take this matter extremely seriously," a spokesperson for the department said yesterday.
"Today we contacted Mr Bowtell directly to apologise for what appears to be a mistake by the contractor. We'll meet with Mr Bowtell and the RSL shortly to discuss a suitable replacement memorial for the site."
Mr Bowtell had called for action to be taken when he toured the site of the former rifle range with the QT last week.
"I'd like to see a semblance of recognition to the fellas that served on this site so that people will be able to see it, read it and understand the significance of this place and what it represents," he said.
Mr Bowtell said he blamed "the hierarchy", not the bulldozer driver.
Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller said the closure of local branches was a factor in the debacle.
"This is the kind of thing that happens when you close Transport and Main Roads offices. Local knowledge and local sensitivity is lost. The Ipswich office was closed," she said.
"I agree with the RSL that the blame for this lies not with the workers on the ground, but with the hierarchy within the department and ultimately with (Scott) Emerson."