Labor’s budget fails to rev up North

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has labelled this year’s State Budget a missed opportunity after major infrastructure projects were once again neglected in North Queensland.

“This is undoubtedly at its core a Labor budget that delivers on their election promises to deliver record spending in the health and education sectors,” the Katter’s Australian Party MP said.

“At the same time, this is a budget lacking real vision for North Queensland with no money for any major infrastructure projects in the region, such as Hells Gates Dam or a rail line to the Galilee Basin. These are nation building assets which Queensland would own, generating revenue for the State.

“I’m also disappointed by the lack of a serious spend in Ingham, Cardwell and areas around Lower Tully. For instance, a commitment to dredge Port Hinchinbrook or Dungeness would have reinvigorated the local economy through opening up tourism opportunities.”

However, Mr Dametto said it was good to see some small wins for Hinchinbrook, including a $6.9 million contribution towards a $46.5 million project to construct Stage 2 of North Shore State School and a $1.2 million contribution for a new $6.8 million building comprising six classrooms and two specialist areas at Northern Beaches State High School.

“It’s pleasing to see that investment in educational resources and I know how much it will benefit students in those two schools,” he said.

The State Government will also spend $1.29 million to complete construction of bridges at Cattle Creek and Frances Creek on the Bruce Highway and $2.4 million to complete asphalt and resurfacing works at various locations on the Bruce Highway between Ingham and Innisfail.

On the agriculture front, the government will spend $2.3 million to help protect Queensland’s banana industry from Panama Tropical Race 4 disease and $2.6 million to work with rural communities and businesses to develop economic opportunities and grow food exports.

$2 million will go towards a $4.4 million project to increase capacity of the Ingham Depot Water Treatment Plant.

Mr Dametto said he would not stop fighting for Hinchinbrook’s fair share of the funding pie, calling on the State Labor Government to get fair dinkum about spending in the region.

“Brisbane, as always, seems to get the lion’s share of the Budget but for North Queensland’s potential to be truly unleashed, we need the funding for the infrastructure to do it,” he said.

“I will continue to lobby the State Government to invest in our region. With the right infrastructure Hinchinbrook can become an agricultural and tourism gold mine.

“We deserve a fair go.”

Nick Dametto MP