Labor’s play for the regions short-lived

It has taken little more than a month for the Palaszczuk/Trad Queensland Labor Government to forget it has become ‘region-friendly, State KAP Leader and Trager MP Robbie Katter has said.

In response to the front page of the Courier Mail dated 1 July 2019, Mr Katter said the headline ‘No going back on rail plan’ in relation to the gluttonous $5.4 billion government-funded Cross River Rail project was an insult to the hard-working
people of the North.

“The ink is barely dry on the press releases announcing Labor’s enlightenment as a friend to the rural and regional areas, but it’s already clear Labor has learned nothing from the experiences of the last few months,” Mr Katter said.

“There it is, for all to see, in black and white – the front page of the Courier Mail says ‘no backing away from the $5.4 billion tunnel’ which we know is paid for out of industry royalties.

“In the regions, the Treasurer has demanded that resources companies chip in to pay for the infrastructure we need.

“That’s because all the wealth we generate ourselves is absorbed into Labor’s pet projects, the most gluttonous of which is this Cross River Rail.

“Out of all the people I cross paths with in Brisbane, very few understand the project and even less agree it’s necessary at this present time.”

Mr Katter said not even Infrastructure Australia had identified the Cross River Rail Project as a priority for the state.

“In 2017 Infrastructure Australia (IA) said on record that it had not included the current proposal for Cross River Rail as a Project on the Infrastructure Priority List,” he said.

“The latest news reports I have seen on the topic suggest that IA still thinks the project is incomplete from a business case perspective, yet according to the Treasurer it’s signed, sealed and delivered.

“When we push for a bit of water storage up in the North, we thrown a couple of dollars here and there for business case after business case and still things never get up off the ground.”

The Traeger MP said there was no doubt the spend on Cross River Rail would hinder progress in the regions for years to come.

“Without a doubt, a project of that size and quantum will severely limit the funding the North and rural and regional areas will be able to secure for its infrastructure needs over the next 5-10 years.

“We’ll be lucky to get scraps.”

Mr Katter said it was estimated the resources industry in central and North Queensland had delivered $4.46 billion in coal and metallurgical royalties in the last financial year.

“The Treasurer has made her point very clear that she has no difficulty funding this project, which I interpret as meaning this money will come out of the regions,” he said.

Federal KAP Leader Bob Katter said the Cross River Rail was the just another addition to the long string of extravagant “money-absorbing” projects in south-east Queensland for the benefit of only south-east Queenslanders.

He said it was deplorable that the Government rejected a northern proposal for $536 million to fund an integrated eco-resort in the North yet was able to find the money for yet another tunnel.

“The Queensland Government are obscene spenders – Brisbane already has 21 kilometres of tunnels. Tunnels are ‘money absorbers’; they will absorb money for forever,” he said.

“If they had instead invested in a rail line into the Galilee, they would be generating money for forever. Rail lines are ‘money generators’.

“Instead, they would rather give the rail line to a foreigner to take our minerals and our wealth.”

Mr Katter warned voters ahead of next year’s election to think twice about voting for a major party focused only on the south.

“You just keep voting ALP/LNP and they will just keep doing this. Wake up North Queensland – stop voting for the majors,” he said.

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