Feds blasted over re­gional fund­ing

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today - by Martin Rasini martin. rasini@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has been blasted af­ter rev­e­la­tions a fund set up to help re­gional com­mu­ni­ties granted $ 480 mil­lion to Perth.

North Queens­land-based Sen­a­tor Ian Mac­don­ald has ac­cused the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of tak­ing from re­gional com­mu­ni­ties to give to ma­jor cities.

Sen Mac­don­ald said yes­ter­day the gov­ern­ment had allo- cated $ 480 mil­lion to Perth from its new $ 1 bil­lion Regi onal De­vel­op­ment Aus­tralia Fund which, un­like its fore­run­ner, would fund projects in the cap­i­tals, ‘‘ di­lut­ing money set aside for re­gional projects’’.

The sen­a­tor said the al­lo­ca­tion was in­cluded in re­vamped re­gional de­vel­op­ment pro­grams re­leased late last week, con­firm­ing his fears North Queens­lan­ders would lose out un­der the Gil­lard gov­ern­ment scheme.

‘‘ The largest al­lo­ca­tion – $ 480 mil­lion – has gone to Perth, West Aus­tralia’s capi- tal,’’ he said. The news has caused concern at city hall, with Deputy Mayor David Crisa­fulli say­ing coun­cil ex­pected re­gional funds to be used to bol­ster the re­gions.

‘ ‘ I would hope r egional funds would be used to bol­ster the re­gions and not be al­lo­cated to cap­i­tal cities, which have so many ben­e­fits be­stowed on them,’’ he said.

‘‘ It is im­por­tant that re­gional com­mu­ni­ties across Aus­tralia get a leg up.’’

Sen Mac­don­ald said: ‘‘ The an­nounce­ment is a huge let­down and shows La­bor’s cont empt f or r egional Aust- ralians. Peo­ple liv­ing in re­gional Aus­tralia, al­ready reel­ing from the ever-ris­ing liv­ing costs un­der La­bor, are sick of hav­ing their pock­ets picked by this gov­ern­ment.

‘‘ Un­like our city cousins, we have to pay freight costs on good that must be trans­ported long dis­tances.

‘‘ The Gil­lard gov­ern­ment, which is bor­row­ing $ 120 mil­lion a day to pay for crazy schemes like the $ 50 bil­lion NBN pro­ject, has again shown con­tempt for re­gional Aus­tralia by cut­ting back on vi­tal re­gional fund­ing pro­grams.’’

Cr Crisa­fulli said the new fund’s fore­run­ner, the Re­gional and Lo­cal Com­mu­nity In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram, had de­liv­ered for Townsville in­clud­ing $ 16 mil­lion to­wards the Flin­ders St rede­vel­op­ment, so­lar roof­ing for the c o u n c i l ’ s a d mi n i s t r a t i o n build­ing to re­duce re­cur­rent costs, and foot­paths across the city.

‘‘ It has been a great pro­gram in terms of fund­ing great projects,’’ he said.

‘‘ Like all North Queens­lan­ders, I have a pas­sion that the re­gion re­ceive its fair share of funds, and not just a few crumbs.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.