Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has labelled the lack of Regional Development Australia funding for the Far North as an absolute disgrace after it was revealed the Gillard Government had once again ignored vital projects in the region.
It comes as the Port Douglas waterfront masterplan has missed out on funding as part of the RDA funding scheme, yet another terrible blow to the economic fortunes of the town.
Two projects in the Kennedy electorate were short-listed for funding, with coastal protection works for the Torres Strait the third project to be considered.
Mr Entsch said that the Gillard Government was treating the people of the Leichhardt electorate with contempt.
“It is a disgraceful example of tokenism by the Gillard Government that the only project deemed worthy of consideration for RDA funding is coastal protection works in the Torres Strait,” Mr Entsch said.
“Besides the fact I seriously doubt this project will get the green light for funding given this government’s record, I am appalled that Labor’s Simon Crean has now backflipped on his decision regarding the funding of sea walls in the Torres Strait.
“I deferred introducing a private member’s motion at the request of Mr Crean because he committed to funding the vital and urgent repair of sea walls, and said at the time that they didn’t want to use RDA funding for that project.
“Now it appears that under the guise of ‘coastal protection works’ the project does in fact have to rely on winning RDA funding.
“To make matters worse, not a single project in Cairns or Port Douglas, the economic powerhouse of the Far Northern region, was deemed worthy of consideration for RDA funding.”
Mr Entsch said it was obvious why the electorate was so angry about the way the Gillard Government was treating the people of Far North Queensland.
“We’re still waiting on an announcement about the rollout of the NBN to Cairns, another project we have so far missed out on”, Mr Entsch said.
“It is clear that a change of government is the only way the people of Far North Queensland will be taken seriously.”