BLAME BARNABY: Water Minister Mark Bailey says Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby is to blame.
BLAME BARNABY: Water Minister Mark Bailey says Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby is to blame. Kevin Farmer

Blame your boss, not us, State Government tells Pitt

A WATER war is brewing between the state and federal governments over the delay of water infrastructure projects for our region.

Rural Economic Development Minister Bill Byrne hit back at accusations by Hinkler MP Keith Pitt in yesterday's NewsMail that the state had been dragging its heels for the past seven months regarding feasibility studies including two local projects.

The first is a $1.2 million Gayndah Regional Irrigation Development Project Feasibility Study and the second is a $750,000 Bundaberg Channel study.

"We're pleased that the Australian Government has finally signed the schedule covering the first round of projects - it's about time this 100% federally funded program got underway,” Mr Byrne said.

"But the Member for Hinkler should be directing his criticism about the federally funded National Water Infrastructure Development Fund at his federal counterparts.”

Mr Byrne said delays in time frames lay squarely at the feet of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

"He failed to tell the successful proponents in Queensland - most small organisations like councils, not-for-profits or industry associations - that payment under the fund would be once yearly in arrears,” Mr Byrne said.

"The Palaszczuk Government had to clean up Barnaby's mess and find this interim funding for the proponents so the feasibility studies can proceed.

Mr Pitt said Mr Byrne was attempting to rewrite history.

He said in May last year Minister Mark Bailey signed, on behalf of the Queensland Government, the national Project Agreement for National Water Infrastructure Development Fund - Feasibility study component (Agreement).

"This agreement clearly sets out that the Federal Government will make annual payments for projects on advice from the Queensland Government that the agreed milestone has been met,” Mr Pitt said.

"Perhaps Minister Byrne has just forgotten.

"If the State Labor Government is in such a poor economic position that it can't fulfil a commitment it agreed to just 30 weeks ago, that is cause for concern.”



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