LEICHHARDT MP Warren Entsch has welcomed today’s news that the Federal Government will spend $210 million upgrading roads, power and sewerage on Cape York.
However he has cautioned that the government must outline exactly where the money is coming from, and ensure it is locked in before the September 14 election, for the announcement to have any credibility with Cape York residents and businesses.
“I welcome any investment in Cape York, it’s a fabulous result,” Mr Entsch said. “There’s no question it’s needed and the sealing of the road between Weipa and Old Mapoon would be fantastic. It’s also great to see they have suddenly discovered where Cape York is, I’m sure it has nothing to do with an article that was written recently about significant problems in the Northern Peninsula Area.
“I only ask that Minister Albanese confirm where he has got the money from and that it is well and truly secured prior to the election, so they aren’t making a promise and then leaving it to the next government to find out where the money is coming from.
“Otherwise at the end of the day it could be a whole lot of hollow promises and it’s the people of Cape York who will end up disappointed and yet again neglected.”
Mr Entsch admitted that his “cynical side” was cautious, given the government’s recent record in making spending commitments that they are unlikely to have to fulfil after the election.
“They can then use the fact that the money’s not there to attack the incoming government, which isn’t able to deliver on all the over-commitments,” he commented. “People should understand that anything the government is spending now is borrowed money.
“Look at the NDIS and Gonski reforms – neither of these policies has any long-term funding commitments in place. I hate to think they’ll play the same sort of politics with Cape York.”