JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT – KEITH PITT, KEN O’DOWD & LLEW O’BRIEN
Federal MPs representing the Wide Bay-Burnett region have slammed suggestions that the region “missed out” on funding from the Regional Jobs and Investment Package (RJIP).
Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said the Coalition Government committed up to $20 million to the Wide Bay-Burnett for the Regional Jobs and Investment Package and that is exactly what is being delivered, with a number of projects funded already complete.
“Only Labor – on both a State and Federal level – would complain about $20 million being invested into a region that needs long-term, sustainable jobs now and into the future,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Regional Jobs and Investment Program was aimed at stimulating jobs and driving economic growth in regions which needed extra assistance, including areas with high unemployment.
“Projects in Hinkler, which received $9.65 million in funding, include expansions at Macadamias Australia, Austchilli, Costas Avocados, Isis Central Sugar Mill and Consolidated Linen Service at Hervey Bay.
“Like many funding programs, RJIP was oversubscribed and the selection process was undertaken by the Department and overseen by a Ministerial panel. Local MPs are not involved in this process.”
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages programme was injecting more than $220 million directly into the Australian economy and helping to stimulate economic growth in Australian regions.
“Through RJIP funding, some of the projects we have been able to secure funding for include construction of an intermodal freight terminal at Yamala, Wallaville Cane Railway Expansion Project and Biggenden Saleyards Redevelopment,” Mr O’Dowd said.
“Flynn has received over $14 million – now that is nothing to sneeze at.”
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O’Brien said the Liberal and Nationals Government delivered on their election commitment for a Wide Bay-Burnett Regional Jobs and Investment Package, while Labor offered no solutions for Wide Bay.
“Hundreds of jobs are now being created in Wide Bay as a result of the practical, common-sense decisions made by the Liberal and Nationals Government,” Mr O’Brien said.
“At the 2016 election we committed up to $20 million to support new jobs and new investment across the region and we are honouring our promises.
“In contrast Federal Labor offered Wide Bay nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. They have no plans for the economy and no plans to create jobs.
“In the time since I have been elected not only did the Liberal and Nationals Government deliver the Wide Bay Jobs and Investment Package but we are also delivering $28.5 million for the Rheinmetall Nioa projectile forging plant in Maryborough.
“We’re delivering $18 million to secure water for Maryborough’s cane farmers, and a National Industry Training Hub in Maryborough in Wide Bay.
“These are all projects by the Liberal and Nationals Government that are protecting, sustaining and creating jobs.”
Mr O’Brien said the projects funded through the Regional Jobs and Investment Packages were vital to employment in the region.
“Australia’s democratic system does not run on auto-pilot by unelected bureaucrats in Canberra. Ministers are there to listen to the advice of their Departments but they also have to make decisions.
“The Audit Office has a job to do and they’ve done it. Similarly the Department has a job to do and they’ve done it.”
Questions have also been raised about Mr Saunders’ claims the Palaszczuk-Trad administration is spending $587 million on infrastructure in the region as Mr Saunders did not provide detail of which projects he was referring to, or their funding models.
“Meanwhile, I’ve secured more than $1 billion from the Federal Liberal and Nationals Government to fix the Bruce Highway* through Wide Bay,” Mr O’Brien said.
*Wide Bay Bruce Highway projects
- The $17.75 million Chatsworth intersection upgrades is funded $15.35 million from the Federal LNP Government and $2.4 million from the Queensland Government
- The $9.78 million Maryborough West safety upgrade is funded $7.82 million from the Federal LNP Government and $1.95 million from the Queensland Government
- The $1 billion Cooroy to Curra Section D project will receive $800 million from the Federal LNP Government and $200 million from the Queensland Government.
- The $103 million Saltwater Creek project will receive $82.4 million from the Federal LNP Government and $20.6 million from the Queensland Government.
- The $107 million Tiaro project will receive $85.6 million from the Federal LNP Government and $21.4 million from the Queensland Government.
- The $14 million Bells Bridge intersection will receive $11.2 million from the Federal LNP Government and $2.8 million from the Queensland Government.
- The $13.3 million Tinana overtaking lanes and the $17.5 million Gootchie intersection upgrades are both 100 percent funded by the Federal LNP Government.