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    Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
    The Honourable Steve Dickson

    Egg on their face: Labor art project disaster

    Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing
    The Honourable Steve Dickson

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    Egg on their face: Labor art project disaster

    National Parks Minister Steve Dickson has exposed another of the former Labor Government’s wasteful spending projects, discovering it commissioned an exorbitantly expensive piece of artwork in a remote part of the Conondale National Park near Kenilworth last year.

    Dubbed the Strangler Cairn, the 30 tonne collection of rocks shaped into an egg cost more than $680,000 to build, including the cost of helicopters to carry rocks into the area. Unbelievably, a fig tree implanted at the top of the rocks will completely cover the egg when grown.

    Mr Dickson said the entire project was a completely cracked thought bubble from the former Labor government.

    “If this wasn’t such an outrageous waste of money it would be laughable – Labor placed this pile of artfully arranged rocks on an offshoot of a 50 kilometre walking track which takes experienced bushwalkers four days to cover,” he said.

    “Not content with the natural beauty of our National Parks, they spent well over half a million dollars of taxpayer funds on an international artist to ‘enhance’ a remote area with art that is designed to eventually disappear.

    “This shows just how far removed from reality the former Labor Government actually was. I don’t know how anyone could justify spending almost $700,000 on a pile of rocks. Only 2,250 people have seen it since it was built.

    “That works out to more than $300 taxpayer dollars per view so far – and that figure isn’t going to get much better with time, since the fig tree inside the rocks is designed to envelop the artwork completely as it grows.”

    For around the same amount of money, taxpayers could have enjoyed 10 kilometres of new walking or bike tracks, or a campground with facilities including carparks, toilet and landscaping.

    Mr Dickson said Labor rejected a submission from native artists to create artwork for the area when the idea was first floated. It instead chose to spend $330,000 commissioning an international artist who specialises in creating work which will eventually be destroyed by the surrounding environment.

    “Because the rugged area they decided to place the sculpture in can only be accessed by foot, a further $50,000 was spent heli-lifting in rocks for the project,” he said.

    “As with so many ludicrous schemes we’ve seen from Labor there was absolutely no serious business plan in place to ensure any sort of value for money, just a lack of common sense and no regard for the use of taxpayers' money.”

    Mr Dickson said the Newman Government was working collaboratively with tourism operators across Queensland to cut red tape and create the right environment for eco-tourism industry to flourish.

    [Ends] 28 August 2012

    Media Contact: Anna Hilton 0408 191 192