Dametto Demands Hinchinbrook’s Fair Share in State Budget

L to R: Michael Pugh, KAP Candidate for Mundingburra. Nick Dametto MP, Robbie Katter MP and Margie Ryder, KAP Candidate for Townsville.

7 June 2024

Ahead of next week’s Queensland State Budget, Hinchinbrook MP and Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader Nick Dametto has urged the State Labor Government to prioritise critical infrastructure projects within the Hinchinbrook electorate.

Highlighting the neglect faced by Hinchinbrook in last year’s budget, Mr. Dametto said that it was imperative that this year’s budget addressed the glaring deficiencies in infrastructure funding for Hinchinbrook.

“Last year, our region was neglected with a heavily Brisbane focused budget and regional Queensland including Hinchinbrook were all but abandoned,” Mr Dametto said.

“We need a budget that reflects our community’s unique needs and supports our growth and resilience. Not a budget that only benefits those living in the south-east corner.”

Among the priority projects on the Hinchinbrook MP’s wish list are:

Marine and Boating Infrastructure Projects: Enhancing marine and boating facilities is vital to supporting Hinchinbrook’s local tourism and fishing industries as well as the electorate’s large recreational boating and fishing base. Investments in this area would boost economic growth as well as help to provide safe and accessible facilities for all users. The areas in most need of funding are Port Hinchinbrook at Cardwell, Dungeness at Lucinda and Forrest Beach.

Health Projects: The Ingham Hospital’s Emergency Department is in need of an upgrade. Complaints about wait times and a lack of medical equipment are of greatest concern. We understand this is in the early stages of planning and it would be encouraging to see a funding commitment to continue these investigations and for construction to begin. Also, Ingham is one of the few regional hospitals that provides maternity services which is a vital asset to our local families, however the facilities are outdated, and the local community is seeking the installation of a permanent birthing pool. Finally, a CT-scanner for the Ingham Hospital was committed earlier this year by the Health Minister and this funding must be secured prior to the State Election in October to ensure that commitment is not reneged by any future governments.

TMR Projects: Hinchinbrook covers a vast area and includes a lengthy portion of the Bruce Highway making transport infrastructure essential. After far to many years of State and Federal Government blunders, this year’s State Budget must include the funding required to see the Dallachy Road and Bruce Highway project south of Tully finally completed. Further to the south at Gairloch, that project has moved into the Detailed Design phase however securing state funding in readiness for construction would be welcome by all locals as well as anyone who has spent time delayed at this crossing due to floodwaters.

In Townsville’s northern suburbs the population is booming (Burdell has recently been identified by Housing Industry Australia as a home building and population hotspot)[1] and the ‘North Townsville Road (Woolcock Street), North Shore Boulevard to Ingham Road, safety and capacity planning project’ must continue to progress. Residents learned earlier this year that the preliminary Options Analysis study that was originally slated for completion in late 2023 would not be completed until later in 2024. Once the study is complete there cannot be any further delays and funding for the next stage, a Business Case, must be locked in and ready to progress.

“Hinchinbrook residents deserve better. Up here we see little benefit from schemes such as 50 cent public transport fares and energy rebates that only bring down part of the already inflated cost of electricity.

“We need a budget that reflects our community’s needs, one size does not fit all. It is typical of a south-east based Government to not see beyond the shadow of the Brisbane sky towers when they distribute state funding.

“Labor is likely to be on the chopping block in October and voters outside of the south-east have lost all faith in this Government’s ability to provide what is needed across rural and regional Queensland. The State Budget would be the last chance this year for them to demonstrate they are capable of responsible governance in the north.

“We have been patient, now it is time for action.”

Mr Dametto wrote to the Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick earlier this year advocating for the above projects to be included in this year’s State Budget. The budget will be handed down during State Parliament next Tuesday, 11 June 2024.


[1] https://hia.com.au/our-industry/newsroom/economic-research-and-forecasting/2024/05/home-building-hotspots-in-north-queensland-revealed

Nick Dametto MP