The Ipswich City Council needs to explain why they returned a $500,000 Federal Government grant designated for the upgrade of Ipswich Hockey grounds.
Federal Member for Blair, Shayne Neumann said the Council made an application to the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant program to provide lighting, irrigation and a reconfiguration of Ipswich hockey grounds so that it could be a multiuse sporting field.
“In over 13 years as a Member of Parliament I have never had a local Council knock back funds that had been granted to them. Until now that is,” Mr Neumann said.
“I could not have been more thrilled for the Ipswich Hockey Association and the city when I announced the Council’s successful application in February 2019, as this was a much-needed upgrade.
“I was shocked and bitterly disappointed to learn the Council had reneged on their application and decided to hand the funds back to the Federal Government.”
Mr Neumann said the Council had offered to make the application on behalf of the Ipswich Hockey Association and submitted the application on the basis of providing an additional $1.1 million towards this project.
“The Council had all the facts when they made the application. They knew this would require ongoing maintenance and applied for the grant arguing it benefitted Ipswich Hockey and the wider Ipswich community.
“The application was made while Council was in Administration, so no one can blame the previous Council for the decision to make the application.
“Once the application was submitted, the Council then insisted Ipswich Hockey Association sell the land to the Council at a very low cost.
“Ipswich Hockey refused, but after a legal to-and-fro, agreed to give Council a long-term peppercorn lease of $1.
“Under the new Council, with a new Mayor and Councillors, a decision was made that this grant money was no longer required or needed and told the Federal Government to keep their money.
“It has been so difficult to get any funding for the region from this LNP Federal Government, and the Council’s decision to knock this money back is stupefying.
“This decision has left the Ipswich Hockey Association high-and-dry and robbed the city of better sporting and community facilities.
“It saddens me to say it, but the Ipswich City Council needs to explain itself to the people of Ipswich.”
View the speech on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ShayneNeumannMP/videos/253932082865273