Lions' move in jeopardy

THE Brisbane Lions' move to the western corridor is in jeopardy after the Federal Government refused to guarantee $15m in funding for the project.

Labor announced during the election campaign that Canberra would kick in a quarter of the cash needed to build the AFL club's new training base in Springfield.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said the funding would be "locked in" regardless of the outcome of the Federal Election - but a spokesman for the new Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, said that claim was a "cruel hoax" on voters.

Three other local projects announced by Labor during the election campaign are also now in doubt.

Mr Truss's office said no application has been submitted for the $2m for Ipswich's Northside Flood Evacuation Centre at St Joseph's Primary School, while no contract has been signed for the $219,000 Lowood Pool upgrade or $349,000 of improvements at Willowbank Raceway.

Mr Neumann said the Coalition was using "weasel words" to "rip money away" from Ipswich, but Mr Truss's spokesman said the government was only obliged to honour legally-binding contracts.

The spokesman added: "It is astonishing that Mr Neumann is spruiking these projects when his government failed to fund them.

"Indeed, it beggars belief that two of the four projects do not even have applications before the Department to be considered, yet he and Labor were hastily promising that it was a done deal.

"Only now, after the election, can we expose these Labor promises as just another cruel hoax on voters."

The Lions' bid was being dealt with the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF), set up after Labor's 2007 election win, which the Coalition intends to replace with its own National Stronger Regions Fund. Mr Neumann said the Brisbane Lions and AFL had dealt with the previous Labor Government "for months" about the Springfield project.

He said he had discussed the issue with former Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and that there were "a plethora of documents in departments and ministerial departments" supporting the project.

He said it was "a funding commitment allocated in the previous budget and documented in full and in detail".

"This is typical Liberal Party response to Ipswich - cut the funding, cut the services, cut the community infrastructure and cut the jobs," he said.

"That is what they do. It is in their DNA.

"The Coalition is using weasel words to try and mislead people and rip money away from our community. They are trying to get out of fulfilling what are very important community projects that are budgeted for and properly documented."

He said the Ipswich and Somerset councils had worked closely with the RDAF and that the projects at Lowood, St Joseph's and Willowbank were all "budgeted for" and correctly applied for. He said the issue of contracts was "not relevant" as funding had been earmarked.

Cr David Morrison backed Mr Neumann's statements on the Lions project and the other two Ipswich City Council projects.

"An application was submitted… that was a partnership between the Ipswich City Council, Springfield Land Corporation, Brisbane Lions and AFL," Cr Morrison said.

"The application would have gone in approximately eight months before the election.

"There is no way funding would be awarded by any government unless an application was submitted."

Cr Morrison said the council had given letters of support to Shayne Neumann to take to Warren Truss outlining its support for the projects.

But Mr Truss's spokesman said the $15m for the Lions project was on hold - for now.

"Any non-contracted announcements made by the previous government fall into the remit of election promises and will have to be reassessed on their merits under the Coalition's National Stronger Regions Fund," he said.

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