- Minister Assisting Premier on North Queensland has no budget responsibilities
- Lack of clarity around Coralee O’Rourke’s North Queensland role
- Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to act to ensure Minister is accountable
The Palaszczuk Government’s North Queensland Minister isn’t responsible for any legislation, any budget allocations, or any public servants in her role representing North Queensland at the cabinet table, an estimates committee heard today.
Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke has for the second year in a row been forced to admit her role had no budget responsibilities, unlike every other Minister.
Shadow Northern Development Minister Andrew Cripps said Annastacia Palaszczuk needed to act to ensure Coralee O’Rourke’s role in Cabinet was accountable and delivering real outcomes for North Queensland.
“Ms O’Rourke admitted she was responsible for administering none of the programs, initiatives or budgets associated with any of the five priority areas in the Palaszczuk Government’s Advancing North Queensland document – this situation is plainly ridiculous,” Mr Cripps said.
“I was particularly concerned to learn today the Palaszczuk Government had not submitted any business cases to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF), to ensure North Queensland secured its fair share of funding.
“Despite the NAIF investment guidelines being released in March 2016 and the NAIF going live on 1 July 2016, in estimates today Minister O’Rourke’s bureaucrats told the committee the Palaszczuk Government had not submitted any business cases for assessment.
“Sixteen months after being sworn in, Coralee O’Rourke has produced just one planning document that pins most of its hopes on the success of the Federal LNP Government’s Northern Australia White paper.
“What’s more, for two consecutive years, Ms O’Rourke has failed to attend estimates hearings for the Department of Premier and Cabinet, despite being listed as a responsible Minister in the budget papers, to avoid proper scrutiny of her performance.”
Mr Cripps said Annastacia Palaszczuk must address the lack of clarity around Coralee O’Rourke’s role, given her government’s repeated commitment to transparency and accountability.