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RSL Project Hinges On Coalition Win

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Murgon RSL Sub-Branch president Trevor Williamson proudly displays plans for the proposed Drop-In Centre, which will receive a $450,000 grant if the LNP win the Federal election on May 18

April 23, 2019

Murgon RSL Sub-Branch will be hoping the Coalition secures victory at the upcoming Federal Election so their proposed Drop-In Centre can go ahead.

LNP Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien announced on Monday that a re-elected Liberal and Nationals government would provide $450,000 towards the project.

“This money will get the building up and running and operational,” Murgon Sub-Branch president Trevor Williamson told southburnett.com.au

The centre would be constructed on a 1700sq m block of land in Stephens Street West, between the Murgon Courthouse and the South Burnett Regional Council offices.

The land is the site of a former Women’s Health Centre.

The Sub-Branch has already bought the cleared and level block from Queensland Health.

It has also purchased a triangular block of land at the rear of this area, former Queensland Rail land, for a later Stage 2 of the project which would include low-cost RSL accommodation similar to that offered by the Kingaroy-Memerambi Sub-Branch in Kingaroy.

Mr Williamson said all the planning and engineering reports had been done for Stage 1, which would include a large meeting room, a drop-in area and a private welfare office that would be used by the Sub-Branch.

“All the plans have been drawn up, everything is ready to go,” Mr Williamson said.

He said the meeting room would be available for hire by the community.

The drop-in room would include soft chairs and a TV, and would provide a place for people to sit and talk away from the Murgon RSL Club, which is where most of the Sub-Branch’s welfare activities now occur.

The new facility will be more private, and will also have parking at the rear.

It will also include male, female and disability toilets, and a small kitchen area for making tea and coffee.

“The project has been a couple of years in the making,” Mr Williamson said.

It would be “100 per cent owned and operated” by the RSL.

He said the Sub-Branch’s welfare needs were increasing as many servicemen and women were getting elderly.

“Our welfare requirements will continue to grow; they won’t get less,” he said.

The Murgon Sub-Branch has also recently taken over responsibility for Goomeri ex-service personnel, which became a chapter when its sub-branch closed about 18 months ago.

Mr O’Brien said he was very excited about the project.

He said the drop-in centre was a key priority for the Liberal and Nationals because of the significant benefits it would deliver for veterans and the Murgon community.

“The Murgon Sub-Branch is experiencing rapid growth in membership, and they need a larger premises to deliver better welfare and advocacy services, and family-friendly social facilities,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This project will help veterans who have served to protect our country, and who deserve to have a place of their own to socialise and receive support.

“This Drop-In Centre will serve veterans and the community, with a Welfare and Pensions Office and staff, a large meeting room with conference facilities available to community groups such as the local Parkinson’s Support Group.

“It will also house the Sub-Branch Memorabilia Collection and Historic Photo Gallery, and information so that school children will be able to learn about Australia’s Defence history, ensuring our Anzac legacy is remembered by future generations.”

Mr O’Brien said the funding was an election commitment and has been fully budgeted.

Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien and Mr Williamson on the site of the proposed Drop-In Centre in Stephens Street West on Monday

Mr O’Brien with members of the Murgon RSL Sub-Branch on Monday … the Sub-Branch has been working on the project for several years

An architect’s drawing of the proposed Drop-In Centre … the large driveway beside the building will lead to private parking at the rear and also connect the facility with the proposed RSL accommodation on the block at the rear (Drawing: M Design)


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2 Responses to RSL Project Hinges On Coalition Win

  1. Ben

    One wonders why this wasn’t committed to prior to an election. As a sitting MP in a sitting government of 6 years, this unfortunately has a bit of a sniff to it.

    All too often this type of 11th-hour finding from sitting government candidates gives voters uncertainty over intent or disappointment should the numbers go the other way. Moreso in elections that have all the polls suggesting a change of government coming up.

    Worthy projects where public funds are actually used to deliver social services should carry across to alternative governments, should the current group be put on the opposition benches. So have the RSL and/or stakeholders made contact with the other candidates at all? You would think such a good project would attract support from others, too.

  2. Bill Weir

    I agree with Ben that this election promise has “a bit of sniff” about it, and that if a project is good it should attract government support regardless of who is in power. Fair points. But I reject the imputation implicit in this that Llew O’Brien, the current Member for Wide Bay, is a bit of a shonk.

    At the last election Mr O’Brien committed to getting Murgon a CCTV system, and he delivered on that promise within months of stepping into the seat. In addition to that, he has delivered in spades for both Murgon and Cherbourg ever since, securing millions to fund a string of great projects that previous governments overlooked.

    What really won my heart, though, was that he was also one of the key drivers behind the Banking Royal Commission and was willing to go against his own party to get it up and running … and as we’ve all seen, he did Australia a great service by being a true representative of the people, not a party hack.

    Before getting into politics, Llew was a country copper in Kilkivan for many years. He’s a straightforward, genuine, down to earth bloke who really does care about delivering for his electorate and Australians in general. In my book, he deserves to be sent back to Canberra on May 18 because he’s the sort of representative all pollies should be.

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