MP defends program that delivered $5m, 200 jobs for Gympie
WIDE Bay MP Llew O’Brien has defended the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages program following the release of a damning report this week that revealed one in every five funding decisions were overturned by a ministerial panel.
The report found there was political interference, little accountability and almost no conflict of interest management in the grants program through which major Gympie employee Nolan Meats was granted $5 million to expand.
It pointed the finger at the Wide Bay/Burnett and Bowen Basin regions for having the highest number of political discrepancies in the national program.
“Without funding from the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Jobs Investment Package, the 200 jobs that are coming to Nolan Meats would never happen,” Mr O’Brien said.
“The RJIP has made them a reality and those jobs will be filled soon by Gympie locals.
“Australia’s democratic system does not run on auto-pilot by unelected bureaucrats in Canberra. Ministers are there to listen to the advice of their departments but they also have to make decisions.
“The Audit Office has a job to do and they’ve done it. Similarly the department has a job to do and they’ve done it.
“The $4.979 million Wide Bay Jobs Package grant to Nolans is being matched by the company, creating $9.59 million of new investment in Gympie.
“This investment will create 200 new jobs in Gympie. Without this funding this project would not be achieved.
“We have a representative democracy, which means one of the jobs I am elected to do is to fight for our region. Whether that’s securing funding for new investments in job creating industries, projects to fix the Bruce Highway, or support for community, sporting, or veterans service groups, it’s part of what I do every do every day.
“We can all be proud of the employment Nolan Meats creates, the contribution it makes to Gympie’s economy, and the way in which Nolans so generously supports the community.
“I’m pleased the Liberal and Nationals Government is backing Nolans to create these 200 jobs so Nolans can continue their strong track record of backing and boosting Gympie.”