07 Jun KAP WARNS AGAINST “BUDGET FOR BRISBANE”
Billions of dollars will be poured in the State’s coffers by coal and mining royalties in the coming financial year, prompting Katter’s Australian Party KAP MPs to call on all rural and regional politicians to back their communities before Brisbane ahead of next week’s Queensland State Budget.
The 2023-24 Budget will be delivered by Treasurer Cameron Dick next Tuesday, and KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said he feared next week’s budgetary debate would be another “tick and flick” of Labor’s increasingly concerning agenda for the State.
“It is typical of MPs, regardless of what side of politics they come from, to scrutinise the Budget but ultimately give it endorsement so to keep the lights on and the bills paid across the State – as a rural and regional MP, that is getting more and more difficult for me to do,” he said.
“The sort of reckless spending we are seeing towards the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games, and Labor’s now-80 per cent renewables by 2035 target, whilst Queenslanders suffer under worsening social conditions, is getting harder to stomach.
“The KAP will seriously consider what support we give to the Budget next week, and we call on all other rural and regional MPs to do the same.
“Queensland is bigger than just the south-east corner, and my focus is on reminding the Brisbane-based major parties of this fact every day.”
Mr Katter said the Palaszczuk Labor Government needed to “cough up the cash” and spend equitably and compassionately across rural and regional Queensland if it is to assume there is automatic support for next week’s Budget.
Specifically, the KAP is asking for funds to:
- Address youth crime by trialling the KAP’s Relocation Sentencing Policy, which will see recidivist youth offenders meaningfully rehabilitated in a remote location and away from their offending environments and cohorts.
- Reduce the severity of the housing crisis on the regions by casting the net wider with the First Home Buyer’s Grant and make the scheme available to existing properties in non-metropolitan areas and not be limited to new or substantially renovated properties.
- Support regional health outcomes by doubling the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS) from current subsidy rates. Travel should increase from 30 cents per kilometre to 60 cents per kilometre and overnight accommodation should be increased from $60 to $120.
KAP Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said any State Budget that failed to address regional crime, health and housing concerns would be a slap in the face.
“On youth crime, things are worse than ever – Labor’s half-baked youth justice laws from earlier in the year have done nothing and we are still averaging five cars stolen a night here in Townsville with similar figures across the rest of the State,” he said.
“We need a circuit-breaker that addresses this insidious youth crime problem in a new way, and time and time again the KAP have proposed Relocation Sentencing as an option; we want this funded now.
“When it comes to health, we haven’t seen the PTSS increased for 10 years.
“Statistics show that people living in very remote areas will likely die, on average, 16.4 years earlier than their major city counterparts.
“The KAP wants to see the PTSS doubled from the current subsidy rates, which means travel should increase from 30c/km to 60c/km and overnight accommodation should be increased from $60 to $120.
“On housing, we are still yet to get traction the KAP’s policy to amend the First Home Owners Grants’ to include established homes in regional Queensland under $300,000 or an option for a ‘Renovation Rebate’ – the old housing stock is sitting there, waiting to be snapped up and the government needs to incentivise this.”
KAP Hill MP Shane Knuth said health in rural and regional areas was crumbling with long waitlists, cancelled surgeries, maternity service closures and the lack of GP services.
“The Government needs to invest in helping provide much needed services in rural and regional areas which those in the south-east corner have access to,” he said.
“By rolling out a Telestroke service and better incentives for GPS to mover to regional areas is a start.
“Strengthening Youth Crime laws to include relocation sentencing and minimum sentencing for repeat offenders would also smash the crime rate issues.”