KAP State Leader Robbie Katter says news that the government will spend $2billion on Cross River Rail confirms what people in the North have long been saying: the major parties govern for Brisbane. “It’s never been more important to fight for North Queensland,” Robbie said.
KAP is urging the LNP to join them in standing up for North Queensland. KAP’s Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth have asked the government for four urgent actions to address the crisis in North Queensland:
- 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
KAP State Leader Robbie Katter said he, Shane, and the rest of the crossbench, would vote against the state budget if the government would not deliver these initiatives for North Queensland.
“If the LNP stands with us, we can make this happen, we can create real change for North Queensland,” Robbie said.
The state treasurer said in his budget speech today “Queenslanders will not forget” if the Federal Treasurer doesn’t commit money to Cross River Rail.
“North Queenslanders will not forget that this government thought $2billion was better spent on a project so city people could get home from work a bit earlier, rather than on infrastructure projects to invest in North Queensland’s future,” Robbie said. “That same $2billion could have seen the rail line out of the Galilee Basin already built, which would produce income for Queensland for decades to come.”
Robbie said comments by the Treasurer in his budget speech that “confidence has made a comeback”, showed how out of touch the government was with life outside of Brisbane.
“In my home town of Mount Isa, confidence is so low in the wake of talk by Glencore of pulling out of its copper operations, people are losing sleep. This is affecting people’s lives, and all we hear from the treasurer is that survey results are good. Well that’s not what’s happening out here in the real world,” Robbie said.
“In other parts of the North, unemployment is as high as 14%. If business confidence was as high as the treasurer claims, we wouldn’t be seeing rates like this.”
Shane Knuth said it made him sick that more wasn’t being done to address unemployment in the North. “Unemployment in Brisbane is around 4%. If unemployment rates were as high in the big city as they are up North, the government would drop everything to fix the problem. Instead we see them drop $2bn on a project in an electorate with 4% unemployment. What a joke. If they care about North Queensland and making a change, they will agree to our request to reducing unemployment in the North to 6% by 2020. And I expect the LNP to show some backbone and stand with us to make this happen,” Shane said.