KAP member for Mt Isa Rob Katter is calling for a number of industry building infrastructure projects in the upcoming budget.
With a year of the Palaszczuk Government under his belt, Mr Katter is hopeful the KAP’s strong position on regional funding will secure some long-term economic drivers for the Mt Isa electorate.
Mr Katter believes there should be a re-focus on small business, agriculture, and large-scale projects which could benefit a number of people in the community.
“The KAP have made it very clear over the past 12 months industry building infrastructure is our only way forward,” Mr Katter said.
“It simply hasn’t been enough for the government to understand what’s happening out here with the drought and the resource downturn, they need to make long-term changes to enable the North West to again realise its potential as an economic powerhouse,” he said.
As a result of multiple visits from cabinet members and the Premier, Mr Katter is confident the State government’s promise to meet the Federal government in funding the Hann highway is in place.
“For a long time we have had this commitment from the state government to ensure real budget allocations to this vital project, which is even more important following the commitment from the federal government,” Mr Katter said.
Water infrastructure was also high on the priority list with Mr Katter requesting the government explore options for the proposed Charleston dam, the Hells Gate dam, other irrigation and watering initiatives.
In the North Mr Katter hoped to include the dredging of Karumba Port and upgrades for the Mornington Island airport.
“I am pleased through the efforts of our community we have already confirmed the $12.6 million for Queensland Rail culvert renewals at Mount Isa and $1 million for the refurbishment of Mount Isa Fire Station,” Mr Katter said.
“Our tourism hotspots should also get a look in, we have been calling for the sealing of the road to Age of Dinosaurs in Winton for years now, we need to see results.”
“These upgrades will allow us to build on business opportunities and extend our competitive ability as a region,” he said.
Primarily Mr Katter is focused on the government following through on the recommendations put forward by the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce earlier this year.
“The Rural Debt and Drought taskforce report detailed a number of ways to address issues existing in rural Queensland,” Mr Katter said.
“Simple solutions such as extending access to financial assistance for children’s education will help areas gripped by the debt and drought crisis,” he said.
Mr Katter also believes an extended QRAA facility which will serve as a reconstruction board as proposed in his Rural and Regional Adjustment (Development Assistance) Amendment Bill should be included in the budget agenda.
“If we are serious about attending to the debt and drought problem in rural Queensland the government must take this on board,” Mr Katter said.
“A reconstruction facility could provide funds for the sustainability and development of Queensland’s industry and agricultural sector.
“These measures are as much about the towns and the businesses in these centres as they are about those living on properties,” he said.