KAP’s Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth have called the LNP a disgrace after they confirmed they will sell out North Queensland and pass the budget as is, without any negotiation.
Robbie and Shane asked the government for four basic things to address the current crisis in North Queensland. Robbie and Shane and the rest of the crossbench said they would vote against the budget if the government refused to come to the negotiating table. “North Queensland is in crisis. The government should be ashamed of itself for not agreeing to these four very reasonable requests,” Robbie said. “Even more shameful is that the LNP had an opportunity to stand with us to force the government to listen, but instead they’ve decided to sell out North Queensland and rubber stamp the budget.”
Robbie and Shane requested four urgent actions to support North Queensland, which faces unemployment rates as high as 14%, compared with unemployment of about 4% in Brisbane:
- Power prices reduced by 5%
- Commit to reducing North Queensland unemployment to 6% by 2020
- Commit unspent infrastructure funding to North Queensland to kick start the economy
- Set up a North Queensland Budget Equity Board
Shane Knuth said he was disgusted, but not surprised, with the government and LNP. “I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not,” Shane said. “I was excited because we had a real chance to make some change for North Queensland, but we needed support from either the government or LNP to make it happen, and neither of them would step up to the plate. They should hang their heads in shame,” Shane said.
Robbie said he was shocked the major parties wouldn’t consider KAP’s requests. “They’re quite happy to throw billions of dollars at a Brisbane rail project so city people can get home from work earlier, but won’t commit to something as critical as reducing unemployment in the North. At least we in North Queensland know exactly where we stand with the government and LNP: and that’s on the wrong side of the Brisbane border,” Robbie said.
Robbie and Shane will vote against the budget unless the government accepts their basic requests – which could make an immediate difference to North Queensland.