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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh


    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Sunday, February 13, 2011


    Premier Anna Bligh will become Minister for Reconstruction and oversee the powerful Queensland Reconstruction Authority with a new Bill to be debated in Parliament next week.

    The Reconstruction Authority will have wide reaching powers for the Authority and establish a board which will report directly to the Premier.

    “The rebuilding effort is central to the future prosperity of our State. We must rebuild and be better and stronger than before,” said Ms Bligh.

    “These natural disasters have turned lives and communities upside down right across the State and the recovery effort will touch every sector of government.

    “As Premier I have a wide ranging brief and am best placed to oversee the authority as Minister for Reconstruction.

    “This authority will have wide ranging powers to cut red tape and get the job done quickly and effectively."

    The bill establishes the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to coordinate the Government’s program of reconstruction.

    The Reconstruction Authority Minister for Reconstruction powers under the act will include:

    -The declaration of designated reconstruction areas where rebuilding can be fast tracked

    -The ability to intervene in regulatory or approval processes to get things moving.

    -Independent planning powers to slash red tape and begin rebuilding as soon as possible.

    -To actually undertake reconstruction or development works as soon as possible.

    “The rebuilding and recovery task facing us is immense, but it’s not impossible. I’m focused on ensuring that the reconstruction of our State happens as quickly as possible,” said the Premier.

    “The Authority will have a mandate to fast track the rebuilding of the State.

    “We fully recognise the primary and vital role of local governments in the reconstruction task, particularly for land use and building approvals, and the Authority will work together with local government to expedite reconstruction works in the first instance.

    “But the Authority’s powers will ensure it is also able to intervene where necessary to get the reconstruction moving.”

    The Bill provides that the Authority will be overseen by a board of management, to provide strategic direction to, and oversight of, the Authority.

    The board will be chaired by Major General Mick Slater and the chief executive officer of the Authority will be former Co-ordinator General Mr Graeme Newton.

    Major General Slater will be assisted on the Board by:

    ·Respected engineer Kathy Hirschfield – spent 20 years in leadership roles with BP; after almost 20 years in leadership and executive roles with BP.

    ·Jim McKnoulty, an expert in local government, planning and development matters;

    ·Steve Golding, a former Director-General, Main Roads Queensland who has extensive experience in transport and major infrastructure;

    ·Brian Guthrie, former CEO of Townsville City Council,as nominee of the Local Government Association of Queensland; and

    ·Two Commonwealth Government nominees: Mr Brad Orgill (Head of The Building the Education Revolution (BER) Implementation Taskforce) and Ms Glenys Beauchamp, Secretary of the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.

    Given the Authority’s concurrent responsibility for reconstruction of areas and communities affected by severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi, the Authority will include a dedicated North Queensland office. Queensland Police Officer Chief Superintendent Mike Keating will provide a critical local presence as Director of Cyclone Recovery, reporting to the chief executive.

    “As families, businesses, farms and communities now work to re-establish themselves, the Queensland Government will continue to be there, standing alongside them, doing whatever it takes to get the State back on its feet,” said Ms Bligh.

    MEDIA: Premier’s Office on 07 3224 4500