ROBBIE Katter has hailed the 2016-17 state budget as a win for rural Queensland and the Mount Isa electorate.
The State Member for Mount Isa was thrilled to see money for key infrastructure projects which would create jobs and stimulate the economy in the bush.
“The KAP’s continued push for the delivery of industry enabling projects has seen a swing to allocate money where it is needed most,” he said.
“We’ve scored some significant wins for the Mount Isa electorate in the 2016-17 budget.”
“Of course, we will continue to push for a larger allocation of funds to rural areas, but considering the Government’s fiscal position, I’d say we have fared quite well.”
A funding commitment of almost $20 million to seal the Hann Highway – one of the KAP’s top priorities – was highlighted as a significant win by Mr Katter.
“We have been pushing hard for many years to secure money for the sealing of the Hann Highway,” he said.
“The sustained hard work from the KAP and a group of committed stakeholders has paid off – finally, we will see some action on this nation-building piece of critical infrastructure.”
“The benefits of the Hann Highway are well-known, mainly by taking traffic off the Bruce Highway, along with the eight hours shortened travel time for Far North Queensland producers to get to the markets in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.”
Mr Katter said the $19.6 million for the Hann Highway topped a list of funding secured for priority roads in the West.
“In the last budget we were thrilled with the $40m Western Roads Package and there’s been an extension to that in 2016-17 with almost $30 million in road projects for Western Queensland,” he said.
“I’ve maintained that investment in our roads is vital as it’s the main business for our local councils, boosting employment and improving infrastructure and safety.”
“There is also $10 million over three years to boost roads to tourist and culturally significant sites, and I’m confident this will include funding for the 11km stretch of unsealed road to the Australian Age of Dinosaurs at Winton.”
“These key infrastructure projects are on top of the $25 million to upgrade the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line.”
“There is also money for a much-needed new water reservoir at Georgetown.”
Health projects funded in the North West were also welcomed by Mr Katter.
“It’s fantastic to finally see a commitment to fix the Cloncurry health buildings, with almost $1 million committed to the project,” he said.
“Both the Boulia Community Hospital refurbishments and the McKinlay multi-purpose health service refurbishments and expansions are also allocated within the budget.”
A long list of key projects which secured funding in the budget included million dollar upgrades for two fire stations in the North West.
“This will vastly improve the facilities for the hard-working staff at the Richmond and Mount Isa fire stations,” he said.
A number of other key infrastructure projects were praised by Mr Katter.
“Mornington Island will benefit from the $1.647 million for the damaged Jetty and Barge Landing and there’s also a total of $1.2 million to rebuild the Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton which was tragically destroyed by fire,” he said.
“I’m also pleased to see $500,000 for a solar generation project in Camooweal and I hope this is the start of more investment in this space.”
Almost $5 million was allocated to improve schools in the Mount Isa electorate.
“Schools in Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Doomadgee, Winton and Normanton will be able to greatly improve their learning environment for students with funding for infrastructure refurbishments and other great initiatives, including a nutritional centre at Mornington Island State School,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter also welcomed more than $10 million in social housing and homelessness initiatives in the electorate, along with the prized new $77.9 million Rural Assistance and Drought Package to assist rural producers and communities.
“This package was the culmination of six months of hard work towards improving the outlook for rural towns,” he said.
Crucial funding for the resources sector would also help boost the mining industry, Mr Katter said.
“Although it’s not new funding, the $1.837 million for geophysical data acquisition will help identify hotspots for explorers to zero in on to find the next big mine in the North West Minerals Province,” he said.
List of key projects in the budget:
ROADS ($28.59m total)
•Sealing of Hann Highway & The Lynd $4m ($19.6m total)
•Strengthening and widening of Flinders Highway (Richmond to Julia Creek) $1.72m ($2.14 million state total)
•Strengthening and widening of Flinders Highway (Hughenden to Richmond) $1.32m ($1.42 million state total)
•Pave and seal Diamantina Development Rd (Bedourie to Boulia) $4m ($5m state total)
•Pave and seal Eyre Developmental Rd (Bedourie to Birdsville) $1.8m ($2m total)
•Pave and seal Diamantina Developmental Rd (Windorah to Bedourie) $1.094m ($1.162 state total)
•Widening of Burke Developmental Rd, Burke & Wills Junction to Normanton $3m ($4m total)
•Sealing of Cloncurry to Duchess and Cloncurry to Dajarra Rd $2.131m ($5m total)
•Sealing of Richmond to Winton Road (south of Richmond) $1.2m ($1.2m total)
•Strengthening and widening of Wills Developmental Rd (Julia Creek to Burketown) $1.2m ($2m total)
•Strengthening and widening Wills Developmental Rd (Julia Creek to Burke & Wills Junction) $1.2m ($1.2m total)
•Widening of Gulf Developmental Rd (Croydon to Georgetown) $4.475m ($5m total)
•Strengthening and widening of Flinders Highway (Julia Creek to Cloncurry) $800,000 ($1.2m total)
•Kennedy Developmental Rd Upgrade planning $550,000 ($650,000 total)
•Isis Hwy Flood Immunity Upgrade Option analysis $100,000 ($493,000 total)
•Funding going to schools in Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Doomadgee, Winton and Normanton
•Programs include: Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects Program, School Infrastructure Enhancement Program, School Subsidy Scheme to deliver refurbishments, upgrades to amenities, build nutritional centres
•Refurbishment of Cloncurry Health buildings $909,000
•Boulia Community Hospital refurbishment $300,00 ($2m total – to be completed in next year’s budget)
•McKinlay multi-purpose Health Service refurbishment and expansion: $5m total budgeted for 2017-18, 2018-19
•Upgrade the Mount Isa permanent fire and rescue station $1million
•Upgrade the auxiliary fire and rescue station at Richmond $1million
•$1.837m for regional geophysical data acquisition as part of Future Resources Program (looking for next big mine)
•Gununa Jetty & Barge Landing for Mornington Island $494,100 (total of $1.647m)
•Rebuild the famous Waltzing Matilda Centre in Winton $840,000 ($1.2m total)
•Pest and weed management – $2.33m in this year’s budget for $6.99 total
•$500,000 for solar generation project in Camooweal
•$10m across 3 years to upgrade roads to tourist and culturally significant sites
•Rural Assistance and Drought Package: $77.9m – Includes: stamp duty exemption, more education support for children in drought affected areas, new Qld Rural and Industry Development Authority