The Queensland government, literal cartoon villains, gave almost $3 million in taxpayer money to Dreamworld to build a fancy new rollercoaster… when that money was actually supposed to be for koala research. You really can’t make this shit up folks.
The Courier-Mail revealed Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk‘s government granted the theme park $2.7 million in 2019 to create a trail-blazing research facility designed to combat issues threatening native animals — including chlamydia in koalas. Considering the STI has infected 100 per cent of some koala populations and is contributing to the decline of these animals, it’s pretty fkn important research.
Except the facility was never built.
Instead, after the pandemic affected tourism in Queensland, the Palaszczuk government allowed the research money to be “repurposed” so Dreamworld could build its new Steel Taipan rollercoaster.
“In view of the Future Lab project being placed on hold, the Queensland government approved that the funding previously approved for the research facility be repurposed to support the construction of the new ride, taking into consideration the immediate impacts of the pandemic and the appeal of new tourism offers likely to attract returning domestic visitors and international tourists when borders reopened,” Tourism and Innovation Minister Stirling Hinchliffe admitted on Tuesday.
“I am pleased to advise that where that ended up was in the newest attraction, the Steel Taipan, which opened in December 2021.”
LNP Innovation spokesman Sam O’Connor responded:“So the koala lab funding went to a rollercoaster?”
Mind you, this was after the 2019-2020 bushfires. Imagine ditching koala-saving research after watching the poor animals get decimated by climate change-driven fires. True villainy.
Australia’s government called bushfire damage to wildlife an "ecological disaster." The military is clearing up scores of dead animals.— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 13, 2020
The fires have:
▪️ Wiped out 1/3 of a major koala habitat
▪️ Burned 1/3 of wildlife habitat Kangaroo Island
▪️ Killed an est. 1B animals pic.twitter.com/7dmTMDeqqP
O’Connor pointed out that at the rate we’re going, koala’s could be extinct by the Brisbane Olympic Games set for 2032.
“To just allow these millions of dollars to be put into a rollercoaster and not follow up … it beggars belief they haven’t asked them if they’re going to build the lab,” he said.
Gold Coast City Councillor Hermann Vorster wrote to Assistant Tourism Minister Meaghan Scanlon asking about the status of the research facility — and then Hinchliffe confirmed in June that the money for it had now gone to the rollercoaster. Vorster accused the Queensland government of being “green fakers”.
“The State has been caught out spending the same dollar twice — but short-changing koalas,” he said.
“They’ve just figured out koalas can’t vote — but that doesn’t mean they don’t count.”
Dreamworld has defended the spending and maintains they do great things for koalas, noting the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation which is building a living koala genome bank.
“Dreamworld is committed to conservation and makes meaningful change via the Dreamworld Wildlife Foundation, which has raised over $3.5 million for animal conservation and continues to fund important conservation projects in Australia and internationally,” a spokeswoman told The Courier-Mail.
Cute until you realise $3.5 million on koala research is peanuts compared to the total $32 million spent on Dreamworld’s Steel Taipan rollercoaster. Fkn pathetic.