Tuesday 3 November 2009

Turnour deliveres on Cooktown community events centre

Jim Turnour, Federal member for Leichhardt, says he's achieved a "significant milestone in an election commitment made on behalf of the Rudd government."
Jim Turnour says the community of Cooktown and surrounding Hopevale, Wujal Wujal and Lakeland Downs have been working for over 10 years to secure funding for a community events centre.
"The former Cook Shire Council, led by Bob Sullivan, was active in working to this end, as have been the new mayor and council led by Peter Scott," Jim Turnour says. "In the lead-up to the last election, I was proud to have been the first to make a federal election commitment of $1.5 million towards this project. This issue of the Airservices Australia land, though, had never been able to be resolved by the former Liberal member."

Turnour says that one of the first things he did after being elected, was to contact the council and secure previous correspondence between the Cook council, the former member and Airservices Australia.
"I set to work to understand what had happened in the past and began working with the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Mr Albanese, with Airservices Australia and with the Cook Shire Council to secure the land for the community," he says. "Following on from this there were very constructive negotiations between the council and Airservices Australia and the site was secured. This was a significant achievement as previous councils, federal members and Airservices Australia could never secure a deal, although there had been plenty of discussions and correspondence."
Turnour thanked Mayor Peter Scott for "the constructive way in which he worked" and Airservices Australia to secure the land for the community.

"I [am] very pleased to announce that the beacon has now been moved so that work can begin on the centre. There was still a shortfall of money for the centre, so, working again with the council, we were able to secure another $1.5 million from the Rudd government’s Jobs Fund toward the project," Jim Turnour says. "In the search for more funding, both the mayor and I discussed with Jo Townsend, principal of the Cooktown State School, the possibility of the school becoming a partner in the project through a commitment of $2 million from the Rudd government’s Building the Education Revolution funding."
The site is adjacent to Cooktown school, which desperately needs a multipurpose hall. Turnour also says that the Federal government is now committing $5 million towards the project: $1.5 million election commitment, $1.5 million from the Jobs Fund and $2 million of funding from the Building the Education Revolution.
"The state has committed $3 million—and I congratulate the state member for Cook, Jason O’Brien, for the work that he has done on the project—and the council $1.5 million, bringing the total project to $9.5 billion."
"I am looking forward to the start of construction next year on a fantastic community facility. Cooktown and the region can finally have a world-class community facility that will be a multipurpose hall, training centre and cyclone shelter. It goes to show what can be achieved when all levels of government and the community pull together to work towards a shared vision."

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