'North Queensland has its fair share of funds' economist says

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the State Government worked on delivering projects not a top down model.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the State Government worked on delivering projects not a top down model. Tom Gillespie

AS CRIES from the north to create their own state due to an unfair share of funds from the State Government hit one economist's ears, he decided to find out if it was warranted.

That's when former north Queenslander Gene Tunny found that people north of the Tropic of Capricorn weren't being rorted.

He said if anything the State Government could be overspending in northern Queensland.

After doing simple maths with the capital expenditure budget for each region divided by the population in that region, Mackay had the fifth-highest spend per capita in this year's budget.

He calculated that Mackay received more than the state average behind the Outback, Darling Downs Maranoa, inner Brisbane and Fitzroy.

"The Katters, particularly Bob Katter, suggested northern Queensland breaks away and I wanted to see if that would that be sensible," the Queensland Economy Watch specialist said.

"It didn't look to me like we are getting badly done by.

"We may not want to leave Queensland because it looks like we are doing particularly well."


Northern Queensland has been doing well out of the State Budget's according to economist Gene Tunny.
Northern Queensland has been doing well out of the State Budget's according to economist Gene Tunny. Gene Tunny

His calculations, which he admitted was not an in-depth analysis, found the south-east corner received less capital expenditure per person than north Queensland regions, excluding inner Brisbane.

Mackay region Mayor Greg Williamson said that allocation of money was fitting.

"It is reflective of the region's performance in an economic sense," he said.

"You get a gross regional product of about $82,000 a head in the region, which is well about the state average, which is in the low $60,000 a head.

"The state needs to prioritise expenditure not on a per capita basis but what it will mean for the state and Commonwealth economy.

"There is an opportunity here for the state to earn a lot more if we had more road infrastructure in place and the ability to open up the northern part of Queensland, the Galilee Basin and water infrastructure for agriculture."

Great Whitsunday Alliance chief executive Garry Scanlan said the money the north had received in past years was payback for lean years.

"What the statistic show is there has been in a greater need in the region recently," he said.

"Certainly the south-east has had significant previous investment, transport infrastructure, roads and tunnels and things, this funding allocation acknowledges the demand and need in our region," he said.

Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan said this was a result of campaigning after years of neglect.from Labor governments.

"Labor governments had held the adjoining state seats of Mackay and Whitsunday almost concurrently since 1989," he said.

"We not only deserve our fair share but even more now so we can catch up on what we've missed out on."

Mr Tunny admitted his analysis did not break down electorates, only looking at broader regions.

But more analysis over the past five budgets explained that northern Queensland was receiving a large portion of the state's capital budget.

His analysis found that over the past five budgets northern Queensland had received 25% of the capital spending while only having 19% of the population. Meanwhile the south-east corner received 52% of the spending while having 67% of the population.

However, over that time, Mackay had received the smallest percentage of capital spending compared to other regions in the north.

What do you think? Does North Queensland get its fair share of funding? Email your letters to the editor: or comment below

Topics:  better business economy mackay business north queensland state government

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