Budget to boost CQ projects, senator says QLD ‘ripped off’
The federal budget, to be detailed on Tuesday evening, will include additional funding for two infrastructure projects in Capricornia, but Labor Senator Murray Watt says Queensland as a whole was being "ripped off".
The budget will include $400m more for The Bruce Highway and $400m for inland freight route upgrades from Mungindi to Charters Towers.
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry hoped the spending would contribute to Queensland's recovery from COVID-19 and said the highway and freight projects would make local roads safer, improve public transport, reduce travel times, and support jobs.
"These initiatives will enhance transport connectivity, underpin economic growth and help Queenslanders get home sooner and safer," she said.
"The $400 million investment for the Inland Freight Route will transform the way freight moves across the State, all the way from Mungindi to Charters Towers.
"The federal budget continues the Government's agenda to improve high-priority roads such as the Bruce Highway, which are essential to the movement of people and freight to support the region's economic development."
Mr Watt responded to statewide infrastructure announcements on Monday by saying that the Sunshine State had been put "at the back of queue".
"Today's announcement puts Queensland at the back of the queue, with Australia's most decentralised state only receiving half the new infrastructure spend as New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia," he said.
"The Morrison Government owes its 2019 election win Queensland, holding 24 of the state's 30 seats, but they constantly fail to deliver Queensland's fair share.
"Even when Scott Morrison does agree to cough up the cash, Queenslanders can't trust this Government to actually deliver it.
"What Queenslanders need is real infrastructure delivery that boosts productivity, reduces congestion and connects our cities and regions."
Last week, Mr Watt also called on Ms Landry to return from Canberra with "a firm federal commitment to invest in more social housing in Central Queensland".
"Locals are being priced out, and skilled workers can't relocate to Central Queensland if there's no houses to live in," he said.
"A bipartisan Senate inquiry into the effectiveness of the Australian Government's Northern Australia Agenda has found housing availability is crucial in order for the region to prosper.
"The final report handed down last week recommended increased investment in social housing in Northern Australia by the federal, state and territory governments, in recognition of the lack of housing affordability in the north.
"The facts are clear, there is less public housing in Australia than there was 10 years ago."