Regional infrastructure spend double royalties received: Premier
The Palaszczuk Government is investing almost $4.8 billion in infrastructure across regional Queensland this financial year – more than double royalties from mining and resources paid to the Government over the same period.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the $4.8 billion investment in infrastructure was in addition to the $200 million Building Our Regions program, $180 million Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects program and the Government’s commitment to services, subsidies and salaries in regional Queensland.
"Queenslanders, no matter where they live deserve a fair go and their fair share. That's exactly what my Government is delivering. That's why I have a Treasurer from far north Queensland and Ministers from Townsville, Rockhampton and Bundaberg,” the Premier said.
Ms Palaszczuk said Working Queensland Cabinet Meetings - held in Townsville, Mackay, Mount Isa and Rockhampton, with the next meeting in Charters Towers this week (Friday, 22 April) - are providing direct input on regional priorities into preparation for the next Budget due on 14 June. The full Cabinet met in Gladstone on 1 February.
"We also need Canberra to deliver in its Budget on 3 May. They have made a lot of noises about regional Queensland, but we are yet to see any solid commitments from Malcolm Turnbull," she said.
The first round of the Palaszczuk Government’s $200 million Building Our Regions program invested more than $70 million in 42 projects around Queensland, with an additional $159 million in co-contributions from Councils and other organisations.
Round 1 projects will support 700 jobs in regional Queensland.
Expressions of interest are open for Round 2 until 29 April, making available a further $70 million for critical infrastructure projects.
“We have listened to the Local Government Association of Queensland. Councils now only initially need to prepare an expression of interest,” the Premier said.
“The Department of State Development will assess these expressions of interest, short-list projects and give councils four weeks to prepare a detailed business case for their project.”
“Assessment will still be rigorous with an advisory committee of eight Directors-General will review DSD’s recommendations before they come to the Minister.”
Ms Palaszczuk said she was astounded the first policy the Liberal National Party had released since the election more than 14 months ago was a recycled version of the Newman Government’s discredited Royalties for Regions program.
The Auditor-General concluded of the Royalties for Regions program last year that:
“Lack of documentation of the reasons for such decisions means it remains unclear what the actual criteria were used to decide which projects were to be funded….[T]he department had no records of the reasons for funding many projects over much higher rated projects.”
*According to MEYFR 2015-16, total royalty revenue is projected to be $2.18 billion - $2.35 billion with $167 million for land rents.