Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt says Premier Campbell Newman is imposing Third World standards on the people of Torres Strait by denying basic rights like the access to fresh drinking water while the LNP Member for Cook stands by in silence.
Mr Pitt said it was typical that the LNP government did not want to continue contributing to the joint federal-state Torres Strait Major Infrastructure Program.
“This program has run for the past 14 years, but the Premier has callously said it is not an ‘identified need’,” Mr Pitt said.
“He fails to acknowledge the positive difference this program has made to the lives of people in the Torres Strait and his slashing of future funding would be disastrous for those living on remote islands.
“If the Queensland Government does not match the Federal Government’s contribution of $21.2 million the basic water supply, storage and sewerage of the remote islands of Warraber, Mer, Poruma and Yam will be jeopardised.
“How can Premier Newman deny the people of Torres Strait the basic human right of access to fresh drinking water?
“Along with providing essential infrastructure to the people of the Torres Strait the Major Infrastructure Program is estimated to have employed and skilled hundreds of people in the local indigenous workforce.
“Through training the program has advanced communities’ capacity to maintain and develop additional infrastructure, as well as contribute to economic opportunities for councils and individuals.
“The slashing of funding to this program is short-sighted and another false-economy by the Newman Government.
“Where is the Member for Cook David Kempton and why is he not standing up for the people of Torres Strait? He is hiding, just as he did when his LNP government abolished the Local Fare Scheme, otherwise known as the ‘$99 fare’ applying to selected air services for Torres Strait and Cape York residents.
“The Brisbane-centric Newman Government is singlehandedly lifting the cost of living for some of the state’s most remote residents and denying them access to basic services.
“I want to know if Mr Kempton supports this latest callous decision which is bad news for his constituents. He needs to say today if he stands by his government’s cold-hearted decision,” Mr Pitt said.