Rockhampton music bowl.
Rockhampton music bowl. Allan Reinikka ROK260719asoundsh

REHAB RECAP: What we know so far

sound shell: Rockhampton music bowl sound shell drone footage.
sound shell: Rockhampton music bowl sound shell drone footage.

IT HAS has been a turbulent year for the State Government's proposed drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility which, subject to consultation, now looks to be moving to a site near The Music Bowl just off Yamba Road.

On December 4, 2018, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga fronted media by the Fitzroy River to announce the construction of a 42-bed, $14.3million residential drug rehabilitation and treatment facility for Rockhampton.

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga addressing media at the announcement for the $14.2m funding for a rehab clinic in Rocky for ice users.
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga addressing media at the announcement for the $14.2m funding for a rehab clinic in Rocky for ice users. Allan Reinikka

She said the need was identified at a drug forum in the weeks prior and the facility would be completed by 2021.

Negotiations began through February and March this year between the State Government, Queensland Health and Rockhampton Regional Council about potentially placing the facility on the Music Bowl site.

But the site offered by council was not suitable for Queensland Health and the search for an alternative site began.

On July 8, a bureaucrat from Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services leaked the proposed site at Birkbeck Dr in Edenbrook.

The Crime and Corruption Commission began an investigation into the leak soon after.

Tammy Fairley with her daughters Chelsea and Stella gathering in protest of the proposed location of a drug rehab facility.
Tammy Fairley with her daughters Chelsea and Stella gathering in protest of the proposed location of a drug rehab facility. Meg Bolton

Property developer Mark Birkbeck took to Facebook to air his grievances with the site, and with the lack of consultation with residents.

Mrs Lauga responded: "The site hasn't yet been announced by Queensland Health, but I did ask for all landowners to be notified”.

The next day saw the beginning of a campaign against the site from furious Parkhurst residents involving public gatherings, petitions and signs posted around the site.

Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke. Allan Reinikka ROK210619aorourke

On July 12, Mrs Lauga and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke vented their frustration with Queensland Health in a joint letter to CQHHS chair Paul Bell.

The pair slammed the department for its handling of the process.

Mrs Lauga and Mr O'Rourke released the full correspondence between them and the department the following day as well as information packages for nearby residents and a formal date for a community forum.

On July 18, hundreds filled a CQUniversity lecture theatre to hear from Queensland Health and other speakers.

The crowd was overwhelmingly against the proposal and Queensland Health representatives told residents it would pause the progress of the Birkbeck Drive site.

2020 Rockynats. Mayor Margaret Strelow.
2020 Rockynats. Mayor Margaret Strelow. Allan Reinikka ROK260619arockyna

Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow spoke at the forum and said council would be willing to re-visit the Music Bowl site as a potential option, which appeared to have the support of those in the room.

In a closed session last Wednesday afternoon, council decided to offer a parcel of land, different to the original arrangement, to Queensland Health for the site putting the Music Bowl option back in play.

State Government representatives were glad to hear the news and Health Minister Steven Miles addressed the new site in estimate hearings, labelling the development "promising”.

As it stands, the Music Bowl site has the support of all levels of government.

The State Government is yet to confirm whether the plans to build on the Birkbeck Dr site will be abandoned.

It is also unclear when the consultation process will begin for the potential Music Bowl site.