Mr PERRETT (Gympie—LNP) (7.00 pm): Last week the Minister for Police and Minister for Fire
and Emergency Services officially opened the new Rainbow Beach Fire and Emergency Services
station. The Cooloola Coast community is pleased it is open because it has been a long time coming.
It has been featured, dropped and then re-emerged in the shiny glossy brochures produced for every
budget since 2016.
In 2016, $300,000 was allocated towards the estimated $1.3 million to replace the former station.
A year later in 2017 that $300,000 was redirected to Bundaberg for a $7.2 million station. It was used
to prop up a disgraced state Labor member and former minister. It was blatant pork-barrelling at the
expense of the Rainbow Beach community. It disappeared from the 2018 budget, reappeared in 2019
and then removed in last year’s budget. In six budgets it has been in, out, in, out, and this year it was
back. Delays cost taxpayers precious dollars. Those delays and redirection of funds pushed out the
estimated price from $1.3 million in 2016 to a final cost of $2.5 million. That is a 92 per cent increase in
five years. I welcomed its return and I welcome its completion.
I hope the same will not happen to the Gympie Fire Station, which has outgrown its current site.
It is a magnificent historical building, but it is no longer fit for purpose. Land was purchased seven years
ago in 2014 for a new station at Monkland. Construction was promised to start in 2022 with completion
by 2023. When I asked in March about the construction and completion time frames, the minister
advised it has been delayed by two years, to commence in 2024. If there are issues with the proposed
site, we need to be told now. Planning needs to start now.
When the minister was in Rainbow Beach, I suggested to him to try to find the Rainbow Beach
police station. I am interested to know if it was found. The police station operates from under a house.
It is not good enough. Rainbow Beach needs a properly designated police station. The current police
beat does not provide the same level of service as a police station. The Cooloola Coast’s population is
6,500. It swells by thousands during the peak tourist season and on weekends, which generates policing
issues in popular spots like Teewah Beach.
In the last 12 months the police have been more active than previously. However, policing is
under-resourced. We need more police officers. The same goes for the Mary Valley. The Imbil Police
Station needs upgrading and additional police personnel. Two police officers are stationed there.
However, for long periods only one is operating there. At the recent Imbil Rural Watch meeting it was
clear that there is enough work for four permanent officers in the Mary Valley.