Money for roads is the most important funding the Government could come up with in terms of regional development in the ‘Building our Regions Program’, says Rob Katter, Member for Mount Isa.
He said he welcomed the government’s commitment to regional infrastructure, but had hoped regional roads would have received more support.
“We’re in a rural crisis and road funding is the best support we can give to our rural and regional councils – that’s where the rubber meets the road.
“Road construction gives twice to the electorate: it provides jobs in this time of need, and it creates good infrastructure which helps with movement of cattle, long distance transport, employment opportunities and tourism.
“To take priority off road funding will certainly impact regional growth,” Mr Katter said.
“I had hoped our regional roads would have received a little more support.”
He said he was concerned at how far the money would go to support larger infrastructure projects.
“Mount Isa alone will have to compete with 18 separate councils for a share in $55million worth of funding, which is entirely possible but a limit of up to $5 million does not allow for major projects.
“It is the major projects that support job security,” he said.
Mr Katter compared the $5 million dollar limit placed on the new ‘Building our Regions Program’ to some of the more significant projects funded by the first round of Royalties for the Regions in 2012.
“Banana Shire received grants to a total of $14 million for both their road infrastructure and sewage system and we saw similar large scale projects undertaken in the South West council region,” he said.
“I only hope this program will give councils in this electorate a similar opportunity to tackle their larger projects.”