MP under fire over backflip

BURNETT MP Rob Messenger has come under fire for calling for a halt to the Innes Park skatebowl — three years after his support for it helped to win state government funding.

Mr Messenger’s backflip surfaced on Wednesday, when he sent a letter to Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch calling for the decision on the facility to be overturned.

“The fact every other councillor has ignored your wishes, the wishes of Cr (Greg) Barnes and, I believe, the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Innes Park residents, leaves the Bundaberg Regional Council... appearing as though it is an arrogant, dysfunctional rabble,” Mr Messenger wrote.

But yesterday, the NewsMail obtained a copy of a letter he sent to the council in May 2007 proclaiming his support for the skatebowl.

“I fully support the concept of providing a skatebowl for Innes Park, which will provide much-needed extra recreational activity for the youth of the... beachside areas,” he wrote.

The 2007 letter was used to gain state government funding to build the facility.

Mr Messenger defended his change of heart and said he initially was not aware the skatebowl was to be located in the Innes Park Reserve.

“Since 2007 there has been a little thing called the global financial crisis and we have to be careful about how we spend taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ money,” he said.

“There is only one thing for certain: if this project goes ahead, it’s going to rip the community apart.”

He now plans to present a petition to parliament.

Cr Pyefinch accused Mr Messenger of doing a backflip on the issue, saying his original letter gave “such strong and unconditional support” for the skatebowl.

“I don’t understand how he can deny he knew where it is going, since it seems clear for the original letter,” she said.

“I think it is a very opportunistic move by the Member for Burnett on this sensitive issue now that he knows there is controversy.”

Innes Park resident Rae Suosaari, who originally requested Mr Messenger to offer his support, was unaware he was now opposing it.

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