6
Oct 2020

North Queensland's major, money making projects forgotten by the Federal Budget

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KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter says while the Federal Government’s 2020/21 Budget had some sweeteners for his electorate, it lacked the vision to drive Australia out of the Covid-19 economic depression as barely any ‘make-money’ projects were funded.


Mr Katter said North Queensland had been forgotten while ‘absorb money’ projects in the major cities were topped up once again.

“It really makes your blood boil when you see $5b for a metro to the Western Sydney Airport, another $5b for Melbourne Airport Rail and $750m for a road on the Gold Coast at Coomera, all while Hells Gates Dam (Revised Bradfield Stage One) and a tax-payer owned, multi-user Galilee rail line miss out on the big dollars,” Mr Katter said.

“The people of Australia must understand that we are in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression. The Treasurer has missed his opportunity to fund projects that would create wealth, thousands of jobs and pay for themselves. The Galilee Rail Line would double Australia’s coal production and the Revised Bradfield Scheme Stage One would increase Australia’s agricultural production by 50 per cent.”

Copperstring 2.0:

Mr Katter said it was positive to see that the proposed Copperstring 2.0 transmission line had received funding under a $134m fund for dispatchable generation and reliable energy supplies, although the exact amount is unknown due to commercial in-confidence.

“I would have liked to see more money for Copperstring because it will allow new mines to open and thousands of jobs for North Queensland,” he said.
“It must be built as soon as possible. Copperstring will also help the Copper Smelter and Refinery in Mount Isa and Townsville, as well as the fertiliser plant.”

Water Funding:

The Federal Government’s headline figure was $2b for dam spending over 10 years, however Mr Katter criticised their lack of detail.

“We hope that funding will include the Hughenden Dam (HIPCo), Big Rocks Weir and Hells Gates Dam (Revised Bradfield stage one) and potentially the North Johnstone Transfer,” he said.

“But we are ecstatic that the North Queensland Water Infrastructure Authority was allocated $3m to properly investigate the proposed Revised Bradfield irrigation areas, which would mean channelling the water from Hells Gates Dam down through the Great Dividing Range to Webb’s Lake.”

Road Funding:

Roads were the major winner in the Kennedy Electorate with more than $660m budgeted for the Cairns Southern approaches (Bruce Highway) to Gordonvale – stage 3, 4 and 5.

Upgrades of key freight and tourism routes were also budgeted for, including;

- $40m for the Kennedy Developmental Road (The Lynd to Hughenden) the key freight route to Melbourne
- $20m for the Gregory Developmental Road (Charters Towers - The Lynd)
- $30m for the Kennedy Highway (Mareeba - Atherton)
- $5.7m to upgrade the Babinda Bruce Highway intersection
- $86.12m for intersection upgrades on the Bruce Highway north of Townsville
- $11.2m for the gradual sealing of the Burke Developmental Road (Normanton – Dimbulah).

“Tourism and agriculture are the two biggest sectors in Kennedy after mining, so this funding is necessary and vital, and we are also devastated by the soaring road fatality rate in North Queensland.”

Remote issues:

There were a few positives in the Budget with consideration to the regional and remote nature of the Kennedy Electorate, this included $100m for housing in Queensland’s remote Indigenous and Torres Strait Island communities.

“Ultimately we would like to see a return to title deeds where First Australian’s achieved ownership of their own homes in their communities,” he said.
“Overall, this announcement of $100m will reduce the serious problem of overcrowding.”

The Mobile Black Spot program will continue in 2021 with $80m allocated to round 6 of funding. Mr Katter is urging residents to contact his office if they live or work near poor mobile reception areas.

Mr Katter said he was relieved to see that the Government was acting to resolve the labour shortage that is crippling industries in Kennedy like fruit farms and meatworks.

“$17.4m has been allocated for individuals to relocate for work, $9m for the seasonal worker program over three years and the Government’s JobMaker hiring credit will give $200 per week for under 30s and $100 per week for 30 – 35-year-olds.”

-ENDS-

Contact Details

Innisfail
P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

Canberra
(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au