FEDERAL MP Warren Entsch has congratulated the Queensland Government for its $10 million investment in Cape York, which will enable further sealing of the Peninsula Development Road.
Together with the $210 million pledged and set aside by the Federal Government in December, it will help to provide greater economic, social and environmental benefits for the region.
However, Mr Entsch has also moved to correct inaccurate statements made by the ALP candidate for the seat of Cook, Billy Gordon, which the Leichhardt MP described as “totally wrong”.
“Billy Gordon has obviously been listening to former Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese. Premier Newman never pledged $40 million towards Cape York infrastructure, and our $210 million was never dependant on a State Government contribution,” Mr Entsch said.
“When Albanese made his commitment back in June 2013 there were three key elements that he overlooked firstly, he had not consulted with community leaders, secondly, he had not consulted with the Queensland Premier, and thirdly, he’d clearly not consulted with his own Treasury, because there was never any money attached to the project.
“What we’ve done with the support of Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss is identified where the money will come from and the $210 million is available as soon as the relevant planning works and contracts are undertaken.”
Mr Entsch said he is absolutely committed to working closely with Cook MP David Kempton and Cape York leaders to ensure that the funding package is targeted to the areas of most need.
“At the forum with David Kempton last month we both committed to doing what the Labor Party hasn’t done, and that’s consult with the community to identify priorities. Our funding is not conditional on State Government funding, and David should be commended for his efforts in securing an additional $10 million for the PDR.”
Mr Entsch also disputed Mr Gordon’s claim that $10 million would only seal 6km of the PDR.
“At the forum there was a very good presentation by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, which identified that the cost of sealing varies greatly depending on whether it’s a relatively flat, straightforward section, a steep and windy range, or it includes culverts and bridges.
“Ultimately, it comes down to community priorities and how they want the money spent.
“I have no doubt, given David’s strong advocacy and commitment to his region, he will continue to deliver I’d anticipate that this could be the first tranche of funding, with more to come in the years ahead.”