KAP cross-bench has expressed an exasperated sigh of relief at the State Government’s agreement to put forward $15 million in interim funding for the federal National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
The scheme which will eventually be 100% funded by the Federal Government has been kicked off by the State Government, following an ongoing dispute which came to a head in Queensland Parliament last sitting week.
“There was a long and unnecessary delay in getting the committed funds to these projects. An argument between the State and Federal Government over how the funding should be delivered was evidently more important than enabling these projects to commence their work,” Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter said.
“Unfortunately the delay was nothing more than the usual political nonsense both major parties seem to relish. Now the political mess has been cleared, a way has been made for actual progress in the sector.
“All it took was a motion in Parliament, countless meetings with all levels of Government, a few dozen letters to the editor and a visit from the deputy Prime Minister but I think partisan politics got there in the end,” he said in jest.
A number of smaller proponents, such as councils, or community groups had expressed concerned with their ability to access the Federal funding due to the timing of the payments.
“Clearly the conditions that the Federal Government put on the funding made it impossible for some smaller projects to access it. Similarly, the State Government dragged its feet in providing a solution to overcoming the inflexibility of the federal arrangements.
“At the end of the day both the state and the federal government had the ability to put the money forward, this was an example of distrust and political time wasting at its finest,” Mr Katter said.
“The LNP will paint is as a backflip, and the ALP will paint it as a clean up, but all regional Australia really cares about is whether we are going to get some real water infrastructure,” he said.
Mr Katter who earlier this year chaired a Taskforce Rural Debt and Drought said funding for industry enabling infrastructure should be every government’s priority.
“Building drought resilience benefits the community tenfold,” Mr Katter said.
“These projects have the ability to make the region grow, and I will be doing everything in my power to drive further infrastructure forward he said.
Non-State Government Queensland projects and proponents include:
- Aquifer Recharge Feasibility Study, Lockyer Valley Regional Council – $120,000 (ex GST)
- Clermont: Water Security Feasibility Study, Isaac Regional Council – $225,000 (ex GST)
- South-East Queensland Treated Effluent Feasibility Study, Queensland Farmers Federation – $650,000 (ex GST)
- Lakeland Irrigation Area Feasibility Study, Cape York Sustainable Futures Inc. – $825,000 (ex GST)
- Southern Atherton Tablelands Irrigation Development Feasibility Study, Tablelands Regional Council – $750,000 (ex-GST)
- Gayndah Regional Irrigation Development (GRID) project Feasibility Study, Isis Central Sugar Mill Co. Ltd – $1,231,024 (ex GST)
- North West Queensland Strategic Water Storage Feasibility Study, Mount Isa Townsville Economic Zone Inc. (Mount Isa City Council / Cloncurry Shire Council) – $1,765,000 (ex GST)
- Hells Gate Dam Feasibility Study, Townsville Enterprise – $2,200,000 (ex GST)
- Urannah Dam Feasibility Study, Initiative Capital – $3,000,000 (ex GST)
- Emu Swamp Dam Feasibility Study, Southern Downs Regional Council – $3,970,000 (ex GST)
State Government related projects:
- Burdekin Falls Dam Raising Feasibility Study, Department of State Development – $400,000 (ex GST)
- Bundaberg Channel Capacity Upgrade Feasibility Study, Sunwater Ltd – $750,000 (ex GST)
- Burdekin Haughton Channel Capacity Upgrade Feasibility Study, Sunwater Ltd – $1,915,000 (ex-GST)
- Lower Fitzroy River infrastructure project Business Case (Rookwood & Eden Bann Weirs), Building Queensland (with GAWB & Sunwater) – $2,000,000 (ex GST)
- Nullinga Dam Feasibility Study, Dept Energy and Water Supply – $5,000,000 (ex GST)