O’Dowd asleep at the wheel – Wayne Swan
SITTING member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd hasn't been noticed by former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan as he said it was time for new blood and energy in Gladstone today.
At Anzac Park, the minister for Lilley Mr Swan said Flynn needed a member who would get stuff done for the region.
"The current member I have observed over the years is pretty much asleep at the wheel," he said.
"He is not highly visible (in Canberra)."
He endorsed Labor candidate Zac Beers who brought up Mr O'Dowd's ability to get the now stalled Port Access Road.
"With the current member we have had commitments for infrastructure, such as the Port Access Road, and for whatever reason that funding has been reallocated to another region," Mr Beers said.
"People are hurting now and that funding was taken out. We need that funding now to give jobs to people."
Mr O'Dowd has responded to the question about the Port Access Road funding in the past and his response has always been the project wasn't shovel ready and when it was, the money would be there.
Mr Swan questioned how long it took for a government to get a project ready.
"He has been there for six years," he said.
Mr O'Dowd scoffed at the assertion he was "asleep at the wheel" on the same day he and prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced $130 million investment in the Rookwood Weir.
The project will potentially see $1billion growth in agriculture in the region, improve water security for Gladstone, and deliver 2,100 ongoing jobs.
When asked about the comments that the former treasurer considered the member for Flynn "not highly visible", Mr O'Dowd remarked, "I think it says more about the level of contempt he and his party hold for regional Queensland than it does about my actions as a member."
But Mr Swan questioned how genuine the government's $130 million in funding for the Rookwood Weir was.
"If that were a reality that would be a good thing. (There are) feasibility studies, state government money and private sector money, surrounding a number of these announcements. That's not even a deliverable message," Mr Swan said.
"There is nothing in that announcement that is going to produce boots on the ground or construction on the ground," he said.
"It has been put forward in the context of the election."
The feasibility studies, including an Environmental Impact Statement produced by Gladstone Area Water Board is expected to be finished by July.