13 Jun RADICAL RETHINK NEEDED AS QLD SQUANDERS ROYALTIES
Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has called for a radical rethink of Queensland’s future budgets and the introduction of a Western Australia-styled “Royalties for Regions” program.
The regional MP said he would push for the program to ensure regions responsible for generating royalties income, like the North West Minerals Provinces or the Bowen coal basin, to claim the lion’s share of all royalties generated.
The Queensland Government, which today has delivered a budget surplus of $12.3 billion, acknowledged booming resource prices and record-high royalties saved its bottom line, but failed to acknowledge the true origin of that wealth: North and regional Queensland.
“As has long been the case, regional and North Queensland make the money, and Brisbane happily spends it – they’ve committed us to their $62 billion intermittent power plan, their $6.3 billion Cross River Rail and their Olympics, which we are now estimating will cost taxpayers around $20 billion,” Mr Katter said.
“They’re spending a mind-boggling $14 billion to build one of Australia’s most expensive renewable energy projects, the Borumba pumped hydro project in south-east Queensland, which is basically a subsidy for Australia’s biggest battery (which is notably not a generator).”
“You would be hard-pressed to find other examples throughout history of such gross economic inequity and injustice of the distribution of public wealth amongst the people – in Queensland regions make the money, then the south-east spends it on itself.”
WA introduced its Royalties for Regions program in 2009, stipulating 25 per cent of royalty income would be spent outside the metropolitan areas and last year spent over $1 billion in its regions.
Mr Katter wants the same 25 per cent of royalty income to be spent in regional Queensland moving forward.
Had this occurred in 2023-24, at least $5.4 billion would have been delivered to the regions through royalty revenue alone (given in the past financial year royalties delivered $18 billion).
“If you spent this money back in the regions, you could create greater wealth-creating opportunities that set our State up for a richer and more sustainable future,” he said.
“We’re not saying we need all the perks of the city, but if the State wants to survive it needs to invest in the places that do the heavy lifting – don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
“With the exception of CopperString, this Budget does basically the opposite.”
Mr Katter said the State’s current “Building our Regions” program, with a total capital spend of $417 million since inception, was a “slap in the face” to the rest of the wealth-generating State when compared with the spend in the south-east corner.