Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Gladstone Gaol

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:40): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development about the Mid North.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S. LEE: Residents in the Mid North are concerned that they will lose $450,000 worth of funding for one of the region's biggest drawcards, namely the heritage-listed Gladstone Gaol. The project is earmarked for the federal government's Silver to Sea Way project. The community needs the funding towards repairing the tourist attraction, which has been closed now for the past nine months.

With work initially scheduled for completion by the end of 2022, the state government has blocked access to the site due to the gaol's poor condition. Gladstone Community Development and Tourism Association spokesperson, Steve Schultz, said that he was concerned that time was running out to ensure the future viability of Gladstone Gaol. Mr Schultz said:

We've been trying to get answers from the department and trying to advocate for the project…[but] the gaol is in a really bad state of disrepair, all we ask for is transparency and accountability.

Federal member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey, said that he had contacted the Premier's office about the issue, but our understanding is that no work has been done by the Malinauskas government and the community will miss a lifeline to bring the magnificent building back to life. My questions to the minister are:

1. Why has the state government blocked access to the site of Gladstone Gaol?

2. What actions has the minister undertaken to advocate for the regional community to ensure the repair work for the gaol can be completed?

3. When will the Premier respond to concerns raised regarding accountability and transparency about the project delay?

4. If Gladstone Gaol misses out on federal funding, will the state government commit to provide financial support to save the heritage tourist icon in the Mid North?

The Hon. I.K. Hunter interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Government Whip, just be careful in that mask with your breathing and everything—stay calm.

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:43): I thank the honourable member for her question. In one of them it sounded as though she had answered it in her own brief explanation when I thought she said that access had been blocked due to safety reasons; however, this sounds like it would either be in the purview of the Minister for Tourism or, perhaps, depending on who owns the site, another minister.

In her quote, the honourable member talked about 'the department', but didn't outline which department she was referring to or indeed whether it was a federal department or a state department, so I'm happy to take the—

The Hon. J.S. Lee interjecting:

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: Which one?


The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN: As I said, the honourable member hasn't outlined which department she was referring to, so I'm happy to take the question on notice and see if we can get some additional information from the honourable member and refer it to the appropriate minister.