Mystery surrounds port support after lease

THERE is growing concern about the future of key community facilities if the lease of the Gladstone port proceeds.

But the State Government is refusing to talk about much, if anything, in the way of detail.

Gladstone Port Corporation currently invests about $200,000 into community projects in the Gladstone, Rockhampton and Bundaberg regions.

>> Buy-back of port lease could cost hundreds of millions

It is spending a further $1.3 million this year on maintenance of community parklands.

The corporation is responsible for the upkeep of the Marina Parklands and Spinnaker Park, the gardens surrounding CQ University and the new East Shores development - which officially opens on Friday.

The marina public boat ramp and VMR facility beside the ramp is also a port responsibility.

But Treasurer Tim Nicholls has failed to explain what will happen to all these facilities if the port is privatised.

GLADSTONE MP Liz Cunningham said she has had a "huge number" of conversations with constituents about the port's privatisation, with only one person telling her he thought sale of the port would be a good option.

"The position is so unclear," she said.

"And I am totally unclear about how the relationship between the port and the community would continue under private enterprise control.

"A private company will be about making money, and I can't understand how it can be responsible for the maintenance of these facilities."

Mrs Cunningham referred to the previous Labor government's sale of Queensland Rail's freight operation, which had included a considerable amount of land, including three community halls in Gladstone.

The Observer launched a successful campaign to have the halls removed before they were due to be sold off by QR National.

"The way this lease proposal stands, we could be facing similar problems after next year's election without anybody in the community being aware what we were up for," Mrs Cunningham said.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions - and we need them answered before we can be confident about the lease proposal."

CURRENT INVOLVEMENT:

  • $200,000 last year for community projects in Gladstone, Rockhampton and Bundaberg
  • $1.3 million last year on parklands
  • Marina Parklands, Spinnaker Park, gardens around CQUniversity, East Shores, public boat ramp, etc


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