City Deals plan may drive our economy
HINKLER MP Keith Pitt is pushing for the Federal Government to broaden its criteria for its City Deals program to include regional areas such as Bundaberg in a bid to secure much-needed infrastructure such as a new level 5 hospital.
In parliament yesterday, Mr Pitt told his colleagues he had spoken with former cities minister, Angus Taylor, about six months ago about the potential for putting together a regional deal, which would encompass the areas of Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maryborough.
City Deals bring together the three levels of government, the community and private enterprise to create place-based partnerships for large multi-million-dollar projects.
The first three City Deals are in Townsville, Launceston and Western Sydney.
"One of the limitations at the moment is the City Deal is for major cities," Mr Pitt said.
With a combined population of about 173,000, Mr Pitt wants Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Maryborough to be considered for a regional deal.
Mr Pitt said there were opportunities around the Port of Bundaberg and a new level 5 hospital in which a City Deals arrangement could benefit.
"We can absolutely look to build a level 5 training hospital in the city of Bundaberg that can service over 300,000 people from Rockhampton to Gympie," he said.
"The evidence that's been put before me is that we are transferring over 1000 patients via the RFDS to Brisbane every single year because we cannot provide those essential peak services for medical specialists.
"Unfortunately, the stench of 'Dr Death', from Jayant Patel, at the Bundaberg Hospital still hangs around our local hospitals."
Mr Pitt said a City Deals plan could curb high unemployment figures.
"A recent report that was put out by the Local Government Association identified the area of Wide Bay as, once again, being the area of the lowest per capita income in this country, as it has been for some 20 years," he said.
"As the local member, I find that unacceptable."
Mr Pitt said he would meet with Cities Minister Paul Fletcher and Regional Development Minister John McVeigh tomorrow to have further discussions.
"This year, 2018, needs to be the year of delivery," he said.
"The people I represent are tired of talk. They want action.
"Our job is to deliver for them and to make their lives better, and these opportunities are here and here now."