28 September 2011 Health Minister Nicola Roxon has serious questions to answer regarding the stalled Redcliffe GP Super Clinic and cannot avoid public scrutiny over obvious problems with this publicly funded project.
The Queensland Government has referred the project to Queensland’s Crime and Misconduct Commission which investigates misconduct and corruption and the Commonwealth Minister cannot pretend that is not happening.
Shadow Minister for Health Peter Dutton today called on the Minister to provide a full public explanation of the issues that have seen the Redcliffe project abandoned by its unpaid builders.
“Ten million dollars of Commonwealth funds have been provided to this project and the Minister must explain how they have been spent,” Mr Dutton said.
“This is taxpayers’ money and the Minister must tell us exactly what the Queensland CMC is investigating.”
“Is there an allegation of misappropriation or misuse of Commonwealth monies?”
“Has the Minister reported these matters to the AFP?”
“If not, why not?”
Mr Dutton said the Minister must detail when she first became aware of problems with the project and what action she had then taken.
Today’s editorial in the Brisbane Courier Mail reports that the Minister’s office was unaware of any problems with the Redcliffe clinic until contacted by the newspaper this week, but Minister Roxon could not claim ignorance.
The Coalition has been requesting a Departmental briefing on the Redcliffe situation for some time, but the Minister has failed to facilitate this access.
“This issue has been in the public domain for several months. Questions have been asked in Senate Estimates, Coalition members have issued Media Releases, comment has been made in the media,” Mr Dutton said.
“It is also highly doubtful that the Queensland Government would not have expressed its concerns and notified the Commonwealth of its intention to call in the CMC.”
Mr Dutton said Minister Roxon was refusing to discuss the matter and refusing media interviews, but she could not simply go into hiding.
“A full and transparent explanation is required here,” Mr Dutton said.
He said the Member for Petrie Yvette D’Ath was also conspicuous by her absence on the matter.
“She was there for the announcement of this project, there for consultations, there for the sod turning, there with the Prime Minister, but now knows nothing and says nothing.”
Mr Dutton said the problems with the Redcliffe clinic highlighted continuing failures with the GP Super Clinic program with just three of a promised nine clinics in Queensland open after four years and only 15 of a promised 64 nationally now fully operational.