Record of Proceedings, 21 April 2021
Last week we learned the contract for the next stage of Gold Coast Light Rail from Broadbeach to Burleigh has been delayed. The contract has not been signed because this government has changed the contract conditions, adding approximately $100 million to the cost of the project after the business case and the costings were finalised.
The minister in charge of procurement made a grubby deal with the CFMMEU prior to the last
state election to apply a pattern bargain to the conditions of this project. The government calls this best
practice industrial relations. Make no mistake, this is an attempt to expand pattern bargains to all
government projects to the benefit of their union mates. The project has not been signed off. It has been
delayed. The business case has been done. It has been fully costed. Now the government is changing
the rules to aid their union mates.
My concern around this issue is so great that on Monday I wrote to the Auditor-General to ask
his office to investigate the financial impact of the government’s application of its best practice policy—
pattern bargaining—on Gold Coast Light Rail stage 3A and a number of other projects. I table that letter.
Tabled paper: Letter, dated 19 April 2021, from the member for Burleigh, Mr Michael Hart MP, to the Auditor-General of
Queensland, Mr Brendan Worrall, regarding the light rail project 537.
I wrote to the Auditor-General and asked him to have a look at Gold Coast Light Rail stage 3A, Townsville stadium—because I understand it cost $43 million more than it should have because of this very thing—the Capricornia Correctional Centre and the Cairns Convention Centre upgrade. Recently we learned that the Gatton correctional centre was $30 million over budget because five extra beds were added, if members can believe that. There is Cross River Rail now as well.
I also wrote to Minister Bailey on 30 March asking him to attend a community forum in my electorate to talk to my electors about the issues with light rail stage 4 as it comes, as he has planned, into Palm Beach down the Gold Coast Highway. I said to the minister, ‘Let me know by 12 April if you can come.’ I have given him a six-week period within which he can pick a time to come. I have said I will protect him—and he needs my protection from the people of Palm Beach! I table that letter to Minister Bailey.
Tabled paper: Letter, dated 30 March 2021, from the member for Burleigh, Mr Michael Hart MP, to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Hon. Mark Bailey, regarding an invitation to attend a community forum concerning the Light Rail Stage 4 project 536.
The minister has not responded to my letter. This is a government that tells us they are open, transparent and accountable but they will not consult with my electorate. What are they hiding because, quite frankly, we do not know?