Deputy PM told to control backbenchers over deal
THE FEDERAL Opposition's infrastructure spokeswoman has blamed the Deputy Prime Minister over political feuding which obstructs the effectiveness of the Hinkler Regional Deal.
Shadow Minister Catherine King said the Nationals leader has to "pull his backbenchers into line" and work better with the Queensland Government to ensure the delivery of funding from three levels of government.
The Bundaberg Regional Council "continues to fight for every dollar" but waits as the State and Federal Governments agree on the deal.
The Federal Government offers $173m for its scheme, but seeks far more than the $8m the State Government currently has on offer.
The backbenchers she refers to are Hinkler MP Keith Pitt and Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien, who have different viewpoints on how to let Maryborough be part of the deal.
Mr Pitt said last week he accepted a compromise of allowing Maryborough be part of the deal, with the condition it rolls out the Cashless Debit Card.
But Mr O'Brien responded, saying, "the cashless welfare card is not coming to Maryborough. Full stop."
Ms King has noted the contradictions, describing it as "an extraordinary biff" and said the deal was failing, therefore affecting the job opportunities that could be happening in the region.
"Last week, Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie told Senate Estimates that the boundaries of the deal would not be changed.
"Within days, Keith Pitt and Llew O'Brien were at each other over the deal's boundaries.
"The Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, must listen to the Queensland Government, end the infighting between his Queensland colleagues and get to work growing jobs in the Wide Bay region," she said.
"We need all levels of government working together to build partnerships and grow jobs."
But Mr McCormack said the Queensland Government had to stop making excuses.
"It needs to come to the party so we can all get on with the job of delivering for the Bundaberg and Hervey Bay regions. Catherine King would do better to pick up the phone to Jackie Trad and tell her to get on with it," he said.
"This would help the process rather than hinder it."