Push for coal royalties cash splash on roads and regions
PRESSURE has been put on the State Government to guarantee new royalties from the Galilee Basin are earmarked exclusively for infrastructure projects.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson has also urged both sides of politics to commit to giving the regions a fairer share of royalties flowing into state coffers from our ports.
The LNP promised it would use royalties from the basin to create a new Queensland infrastructure fund if it wins next year's state election - and it wants Labor to commit to the same in its December economic update.
The mid-year economic and fiscal review each December allows the State Government to update any necessary spending plans outlined in its annual budget.
Shadow Treasurer Tim Mander said a LNP Government would use the infrastructure fund to fix the Bruce Highway, air-condition every state school in Queensland and build new dams.
"The LNP will ensure that every cent of royalties from the basin is used to build the job-creating infrastructure that Queensland is crying out for," Mr Mander said.
A spokesman for Treasurer Jackie Trad said the State Government was already spending $7.7 billion on infrastructure outside Greater Brisbane this financial year.
"That's 40 per cent more than every dollar Queenslanders earn from all resources royalties across the entire state in the same year," he said.
"Our commitment to infrastructure investment is here to stay, with a total infrastructure investment of nearly $50 billion across the next four years."
He said the State Government was focused on opening up new resource projects to provide long-term skilled jobs across regional Queensland.
Cr Williamson said it was an "outrageous gerrymander" of public money to see more bridges and roads built in southeast Queensland while infrastructure in the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region was ignored.
"When we have a road like the Peak Downs Highway, which carries a huge amount of economic activity for Queensland, and yet there's 92km between Coppabella and Moranbah that doesn't have an overtaking lane, those are the sorts of inequities we're seeing," he said.
"Any pressure to enable regional Queensland to get a fairer share of royalties we produce would have my support."
In the fallout from May's federal election, Cr Williamson said there had been plenty of talk from both sides of politics about regional Queensland.
"But there needs to be a huge focus on the regions for us to believe that anything is going to change," he said.