MP's parliamentary blast against state development policies
BUNDABERG State MP David Batt used parliament time today to blast the Queensland Government's lack of action for Bundaberg development, and accusing cabinet ministers of shutting down questions during recent estimate hearings.
Mr Batt said it was his second state budget and that he was "disappointed” in the information he received in the state development hearing held on Wednesday, July 24.
Lack of progress on the SDA, an outdated regional plan, and lack of commitment to the Hinkler Regional Deal showed the state government was overlooking economic potential in an area of high unemployment, he said.
Mr Batt said it had been two years since the Queensland Government declared Bundaberg Port as a State Development Area, but that there had been no progress in any development since then.
There was little response when he asked if there had been progress on a solar farm for the area, and the only project the state government had planned that would cover the SDA was a spoil disposal project, which he said was not enough.
Mr Batt compared the lack of funding received for the Bundaberg SDA in comparison to Gladstone Port, which he said received $13 million.
"I was keen to see if Bundaberg receives a similar commitment,” Mr Batt said.
"Labor made it clear there were no plans to replicate it.”
Another area of development that was being overlooked was a regional plan for Wide Bay, which had not been updated for eight years.
Mr Batt said this was a big difference to any economic plan for Brisbane, which would have been more up-to-date.
He praised Hinkler Federal MP Keith Pitt's work to bring $173m in funding for economic projects to the area as part of the Hinkler Regional Deal, which the state government had not committed funding to in its current form.
"All we're seeing is broken promises and political games,” Mr Batt said.
In the hearing held on July 24, in response to Mr Batt's question about an approved solar farm, Department of State Development coordinator-general Barry Broe said an SDA was about long-term planning.
"We do not judge its effectiveness by how much development happens in the first 18 months,” he said.
"It protects land for the long term.”