- Palaszczuk Labor Government continues to neglect North Queensland
- So-called Minister for North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke simply a passenger around the cabinet table
- Annastacia Palaszczuk doesn’t care about North Queensland
The Palaszczuk Government has failed to submit any business cases for new projects to the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility more than 600 days after it was first announced, despite having a dedicated Minister for North Queensland in Cabinet.
Shadow Northern Development Minister Andrew Cripps said Labor’s criticism of the Federal Government’s Northern Australia agenda was an exercise in rank hypocrisy, given it had done nothing but sabotage economic development opportunities in North Queensland for the past two years.
“For two years at Budget Estimates I have directly questioned the Minister for North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke about how many new project business cases the Palaszczuk Government had submitted to the NAIF and the answer on both occasions was none” said Mr Cripps.
“Coralee O’Rourke has been invisible and impotent in this portfolio and North Queensland has been disadvantaged as a result – 600 days after the Federal LNP Government announced the NAIF would be established, Labor has failed to propose one single new project.”
Mr Cripps said it had originally taken Minister O’Rourke 12 months (February 2016) to announce that she was going to Canberra to lobby for projects in North Queensland, but since then there had been absolutely no evidence that her advocacy had delivered any results whatsoever.
“Nothing I have seen since budget estimates last year suggests that Coralee O’Rourke has make any progress whatsoever to secure North Queensland’s fair share of funding from the NAIF, from the National Water Infrastructure Fund or any other Federal Government program.
“Coralee O’Rouke’s indolence and incompetence is the real reason why these federal funds have not flowed to North Queensland – that and Labor is ideologically opposed to economic development in that region, while being held captive by their preference deal with the Greens”.
Mr Cripps said Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Agriculture and Water Minister Barnaby Joyce had made it clear the Palaszczuk Government had failed to progress a series of feasibility studies for 13 new water infrastructure projects funded by the Federal LNP Government.