ARE WE CON­VINCED BY THE HYPE OR JUST HAPPY FOR THE FUND­ING? WITH­OUT THE WENT­WORTH LOSS, WOULD THIS MERCY MIS­SION HAVE OC­CURRED? Let’s check fine print

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

Hoo- bloody- ray, looks like our hard- to- shake “Brownsville” tag might fi­nally come loose.

The ScoMo bus, its poor lonely driver and the jet that the Can­berra con­tin­gent ac­tu­ally trav­elled on have come and gone.

And Townsville’s the win­ner with the LNP agree­ing to chuck in the cash to se­cure the vi­tal stage two of our wa­ter sup­ply. Not only that, but to fund Stage 1 of Bob Kat­ter’s pet project, Hells Gates Dam.

Of course it’s pos­si­ble none of this would have hap­pened if the Went­worth by- elec­tion hadn’t sent a pretty clear mes­sage back to the LNP poll­sters in Can­berra that a ma­jor­ity of peo­ple weren’t that into their peo­ple.

So this is like one of those apolo­getic phone calls a drunk di­aller makes the morn­ing af­ter the night be­fore.

But in­stead of a: “Yep, OK we’ll cough up” we got the ScoMo Road­show, an early elec­tion cam­paign move in­volv­ing pubs, beers, base­ball caps and lots of other “reg­u­lar guy” stuff in an at­tempt to woo vot­ers.

Af­ter the Big An­nounce­ment Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael McCor­mack, who had some of us say­ing “Who’s that guy again?” ( much like this week’s Bach­e­lorette evictee, Daniel) put out a press re­lease. This, to cyn­ics such as my­self, looked less than re­as­sur­ing.

“The Lib­eral and Na­tion­als’ Govern­ment will in­vest up to $ 200 mil­lion to se­cure Townsville’s long- term wa­ter sup­ply. We are back­ing Queens­lan­ders.”

First off all, please note the “up to” $ 200 mil­lion. This re­minds me of many a sale item I have glee­fully pounced on un­til reach­ing the check­out only to be told: “Sorry, it says ‘ up to’ 50 per cent off, this is ac­tu­ally 5 per cent off, do you still want it?”

So we need to watch out for those kinds of shenani­gans, since our bud­get is al­ready down to $ 195 mil­lion af­ter we in­clude the busi­ness plan, es­ti­mated to cost $ 5 mil­lion for around a month’s work.

The sec­ond line “We are back­ing Queens­lan­ders”, is like say­ing “We are back­ing Winx” af­ter she’s al­ready won 28 starts.

Let’s make no mis­take here, this is the first sign of “back­ing” we’ve seen since the sta­dium fund­ing arm- twist that hap­pened be­fore the last elec­tion, each of these gen­er­ous re- gifts of our own tax­payer- funded funds has only oc­curred as dam­age con­trol.

And while the “Guns and God” lean­ings of the Kat­ter Aus­tralia Party mightn’t be to ev­ery­one’s taste, Bob Kat­ter’s bar­ter­ing po­si­tion is for­mi­da­ble.

Us­ing Hells Gates as the trade- off for sup­port­ing the LNP af­ter their Went­worth by­elec­tion de­feat was like Thursto re­quest­ing a sta­dium af­ter the Cowboys Pre­mier­ship win. BAM! Would we have fund­ing if the LNP had re­tained Went­worth or if the seat of Herbert was as safe as it once was?

Doubt­ful. But if its re­sults we care about rather than the beg­ging and plead­ing for ba­sics, then yes, it’s a vic­tory of sorts.

Through­out this en­tire wa­ter cri­sis the LNP have dragged their heels, now they’re over a bar­rel yet play­ing “saviour” by fund­ing what is es­sen­tially an es­sen­tial ser­vice.

So next time they need Bob’s back­ing, could he maybe men­tion “La­goon”?

ELEC­TION MODE: Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son be­ing a ‘ reg­u­lar guy’ in Townsville. Pic­ture: ALIX SWEENEY

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