Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad.
Queensland Treasurer Jackie Trad. DAN PELED

Bundy MPs call out Deputy Premier over SEQ funding push

AS THE Deputy Premier this week spruiked a City Deal for South East Queensland, an area most regional Queenlanders would argue already gets its fair share of funding, questions are being asked why Bundaberg wasn't part of the picture.

A City Deal brings together all levels of government in collaborative agreements to fund projects that will stimulate the economy and deliver jobs.

In 2016 the Memorandum of Understanding To Establish And Implement City Deals between the Federal and Queensland Governments saw both parties "agree to work cooperatively and collaboratively to agree priority locations”.

Jackie Trad wants to seeSouth East Queensland awarded the next deal.

Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney have all been granted City Deals, with proposals also in the works for Geelong, Hobart, Perth and Darwin.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt has pleaded his case for Hinkler to be considered for a regional City Deal, in an effort to bring much-needed infrastructure and opportunities for growth to the region.

Yesterday, he called on Ms Trad to remember there was more to Queensland than the South East.

But Ms Trad said the Palaszczuk Government knew first-hand how beneficial City Deals could be to regional centres.

"In fact we negotiated Australia's first ever City Deal in Townsville in 2016,” she said.

"Unfortunately, since then the Federal LNP has not approved any further City Deals in Queensland. If we want a new deal anywhere in Queensland the Federal Government has to be on board.

"While we've been working with Mayors in South East Queensland towards a City Deal for that region, the Queensland Government is also supportive of City Deals for other locations throughout the state to ensure regional centres benefit as well.

"I'm very happy to support Mr Pitt to lobby his own colleagues in Canberra to deliver more City Deals for Queensland.”

But Mr Pitt said the South East corner already got a lion's share of funding, comments backed up by Member for Bundaberg David Batt and Burnett MP Stephen Bennett.

"Ms Trad needs to make clear whether she is the Deputy Premier of Queensland, or the Deputy Premier of the South East corner?” Mr Pitt said.

"Are the residents of Hinkler supposed to be happy about money continuing to pour into Brisbane, with nothing coming from the State Government to our region?”

Mr Pitt said he was working to make Hinkler a priority for a City Deal.

"For the past 18 months I have met with the State Members, local mayors, community leaders, business leaders, chambers of commerce and the UDIA, to discuss the potential regional deal for Hinkler,” he said.

"The State Members - Ted Sorensen, Stephen Bennett and David Batt - and the mayors are in full support of a regional deal for Hinkler.

"I have met with numerous portfolio ministers, the Prime Minister as recently as September, and the Deputy Prime Minister as recently as this week about a regional deal.

"I also submitted a business case to the Prime Minister's office in December.”

Mr Batt said it was unbelievable to see the Labor State Government believed South East Queensland deserved a City Deal.

"The South East corner is already one big city area with copious amounts of funding poured into it each and every year, with regions like the Wide Bay constantly missing out,” he said.

Citing the Wide Bay having the second highest unemployment rate in the state, Mr Bennett said the purpose of a City Deal was to deliver more jobs, infrastructure and training for an area.

"This is once again an example of a city-centric Labor Government ignoring those who live outside the invisible South East corner boundary line,” he said.



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