Ingham Daily Press

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KAP political communication: Budget a fizzer but education enjoys sugar hits

MP Nick Dametto

Tricky accounting and capital spending centred on the south-east corner defines the 2021-22 Queensland Budget but there are still some sugar hits for the Hinchinbrook electorate, local MP Nick Dametto has said.

Mr Dametto said the Queensland Treasurer had delivered a textbook Labor Budget that ticked all the social boxes, but lacked grunt and vision.

“On the surface it appears to be more of the same for North Queensland, and yes there will be significant funding allocated to roads, education and health care that are important,” he said.

“But what this budget lacks for our region is a desire to build nation-building infrastructure that will pay itself off and one day generate an income for generations to come.

“Overall it lacks grunt and misses a golden opportunity for regional Queensland to play a big part in the recovery of the state’s economy.

“I would have liked to have seen the North Queensland Bio-Energy (NQBE) plant receive support as well as overall funding for the bio-energy and ethanol fuel production industry more broadly.”

Mr Dametto said Hinchinbrook was still waiting for the delivery of its four-chair dialysis clinic, though this has already been funded in a previous budget, as well as the installation of a CT scanner at the Ingham Hospital.

He said there were some “new” capital spends for the region, which include:

EDUCATION

  • Bluewater State School – $1.5 million to upgrade existing amenities block.
  • Bohlevale State School – $375,000 to refurbish learning spaces in Block B.
  • Bohlevale State School – $700,00 for a school security fence.
  • Ingham State High School – $500,000 to Refurbish Block D (Level 1 – 3 learning spaces).
  • Trebonne State School – $45,000 for an Outdoor Learning Area and Nature Playground
  • There is also a total of $887,000 for minor and major works at schools within the 2021-22 financial year.

TOURISM

  • Girringun National Park – $600,000 out of a planned $2 million spend for the Wallaman Falls visitor facility upgrade.

EMERGENCY SERVICES

  • Burdell Ambulance Station and Townsville Local Ambulance Service Network Office – $500,ooo out of a committed $6 million spend.

The previously budgeted $6.4 million for the Port Hinchinbrook sewage treatment plant is still in the service delivery statement, and the Government has indicated it is continuing to engage with DriveIt NQ to plan the third phase of its project.

Mr Dametto said Labor was misleading the public with suggestions it was delivering more than 60 per cent of its capital spend to the regions, with the real figure sitting at 40 per cent.

There is a capital spend of $5.9 billion planned outside of the south-east corner in “true regional Queensland” (Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Outback Queensland, Central Queensland, Darling Downs and Wide Bay), while Brisbane and surrounds will receive $8.8 billion.

The state’s total capital spend for 2021-22 is $14.7 billion.

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