More to Queens­land than south­east

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION - with Colin Dwyer cgdwyer@gmail.com

I DON’T nor­mally read the Courier Mail be­cause it's a south­ern pa­per and its main pur­pose is sup­ply­ing in­for­ma­tion to the south­east cor­ner. Then on July 21 the front page photo with an Aus­tralian surfer be­ing ha­rassed by a South African great white shark caught my at­ten­tion.

As if the Spring­boks didn’t or­gan­ise that shark to be at Jef­freys Bay the day af­ter we con­tro­ver­sially beat them in the Gabba rugby Test!

Two close calls, but it was on page 22 that it went down­hill from an in­spi­ra­tional story to a hyp­o­crit­i­cal let­ter to the editor from our Premier.

She crit­i­cised the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for ap­par­ently deny­ing Queens­land $ 1 bil­lion for in­fra­struc­ture projects. The money was tied to pri­vati­sa­tion of as­sets and be­cause we as a state re­jected that pol­icy the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is deny­ing us a fair share. The feds can’t just change its rules and make one rule for us and another rule for ev­ery­one else. Me­thinks she’s play­ing sharks in a smaller pool.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, she ac­cuses the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment of stub­born­ness. This could be seen as hyp­o­crit­i­cal and a point­less pros­e­cu­tion path­way but it makes her ap­pear like she’s stand­ing up to Cant­berra.

To her credit she com­pares Queens­land to Western Aus­tralia’s con­ces­sional fund­ing due to re­duced min­ing roy­al­ties, and right­fully points out that Queens­land has had a $ 3 bil­lion re­duc­tion in min­ing roy­al­ties with no sim­i­lar com­pen­sa­tion pro­gram from the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment.

Good ar­gu­ment and good eco­nom­ics! But is she fight­ing for all Queens­land or just the south­east?

Our Premier says Queens­lan­ders de­serve a fair share of their own tax dol­lars. Great to see that she and her party are keen to be part of shar­ing the public in­vest­ment and re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture pie equally.

Does she be­lieve in pay­back for short- chang­ing the North in the past? Our Premier can’t have it both ways. Ar­gu­ing for a fair share from the feds but not dis­tribut­ing it fairly to Queens­land re­gions is hyp­o­crit­i­cal pol­i­tics and poor eco­nom­ics.

Equal fis­cal dis­tri­bu­tion is a longterm equa­tion.

Our lo­cal fed­eral mem­ber has con­sis­tently said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment rarely and spar­ingly funds sta­di­ums and re­cently pointed out that Bris­drain gov­ern­ments had al­most fully funded sev­eral south­east Queens­land sta­di­ums for football, net­ball and $ 1.5 bil­lion for Gold Coast sta­di­ums. It’s the chal­lenge we have due to our dis­tance from the seat of power. Bris­drain is will­ing to con­trib­ute less than half ($ 100 mil­lion) to Townsville’s pro­posed sta­dium. He asked whether any­one has asked lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives why Bris­drain won’t fund most of our sta­dium as they do down south.

It ap­pears Bris­drain La­bor be­lieves in one set of rules for the south­east and another for the Fitzroy River North. Here’s your chance to re­ply, lo­cal MPs. Shouldn’t Townsville and the north­west get a sim­i­lar deal as the south­east for sta­dium fund­ing?

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