North Queensland community and business leaders would be shocked to learn today that the Palaszczuk Labor Government is only now heading to Canberra to discuss economic opportunities presented by the Federal Government’s Northern Australia White Paper.
Shadow Northern Development Minister Andrew Cripps said Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke’s announcement that she was only today heading to Canberra to put the case for projects in North Queensland was unforgivable.
“After 12 months as the Minister supposedly responsible for progressing the interests of North Queensland, Coralee O’Rourke is finally going to Canberra to ask the Federal Coalition Government for our fair share of funding,” Mr Cripps said.
“In October last year, the LNP asked Minister O’Rourke and State Development Minister Anthony Lynham to name any projects in North Queensland Labor had prepared business cases for to submit to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.
“Neither Minister could name a single project, and today we learn, after a full year in office, Coralee O’Rourke is only now going to Canberra to advocate for North Queensland projects, when the Northern Australia White Paper was released in June 2015.
“I have warned Queensland would miss out on vital funding to the proactive LNP Governments in Western Australia and the Northern Territory because the Palaszczuk Labor Government can’t get its act together and had no plans for North Queensland.
“It’s this kind of inaction we’ve seen from Labor in the past year that is holding North Queensland back.
“Only the LNP has a real economic plan to unleash North Queensland’s potential.”
Mr Cripps said he wished the delegation of local Mayors from North Queensland well in their efforts to represent the interests of North Queensland, but felt sure they were frustrated by the endless roundtable talkfests hosted by Minister O’Rourke.
“Every council and economic development group in North Queensland has a full list of projects they want to progress through the Northern Australia White Paper process, but they have been held back by the dithering of this hapless Minister,” he said.
“For Minister O’Rourke to wait more than 6 months to commence lobbying for North Queensland is an extreme case of indolence and incompetence and it’s unforgivable.
Mr Cripps again called for the Premier to replace Coralee O’Rourke with someone who could provide North Queensland with the positive and proactive representation that it deserved.”