Member for Mulgrave and Shadow Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, says the LNP has again ignored Far North Queensland by excluding it from its Royalties to the Regions scheme.
“The Newman Government has earmarked almost $500 million to be split among 14 local council areas, but not one cent will come to our local area or region,” Mr Pitt said.
“Not only has the LNP excluded Cairns Regional Council, it has also ignored the Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Tablelands Regional Council and Cook Shire Council.
“I am sure FNQ residents will be disappointed that their local LNP MPs have failed to secure even the thinnest slice of this funding for our region.
“It’s about time that people like Gavin King and the other LNP members in FNQ start standing up for our region.”
Mr Pitt said the Royalties to the Regions program was meant to assist councils facing financial strains caused by the resources boom and the need to invest in services and infrastructure.
“To suggest that FNQ councils are not being impacted by the resources boom is absolute nonsense,” he said.
“Cairns is already a service centre for resources companies such as BHP, Xstrata, Barrick, Newcrest, Kagara and Rio Tinto and already has air services to 18 mining centres.
“Latest estimates from Cairns-based Cummings Economics suggest the value of mining in the Far North is around $1 billion, including bauxite mining at Weipa, silica production at Cape Flattery, and copper, lead or zinc in the Cairns’ hinterland, the Atherton Tablelands, Chillagoe, and Etheridge.
“Resource projects are having an impact on our regional roads network, and that will only increase as proposed Cape York projects come on stream.
“The mining sector is a key influence on the value of the Aussie dollar, which at present is having a detrimental impact on our tourism industry.
“There are also the social impacts of fly-in/fly-out workers. Plus, with increased shipping, there’s a question mark over how well-equipped regional councils might be to handle a possible shipping disaster in Great Barrier Reef waters.
“So to say our region is not linked directly to the resources sector is just plain wrong.
“There are also active plans to develop and build on existing links to resource industries in PNG, Cape York, and the North East Minerals Province.
“Mining and mining services are part of the Far North now and are a key plank of future diversification and economic growth plans.
“I agree with the Townsville-based Local Government Minister David Crisafulli when he says it is high time resource communities received a fair share of the benefits of the mining boom.
“But I would like him to match his words with actions when it comes to the Far North.
“Zero dollars out of almost half-a-billion is not our fair share,” Mr Pitt said.