Anger as CQ loses hardcore as Aussies win big time
IN A Federal Budget which taps into the Aussie battler psyche, Central Queensland appears to have been overlooked.
Lobby groups, industry and government leaders have this morning slammed Capricornia MP Michelle Landry as scant detail emerges over any wins for the region.
Some claim Central Queensland did not receive any significant commitment in Treasurer Scott Morrison's bid to "make Australia great again”.
Ms Landry has so far done little to combat that train of though this morning, with her initial announcement focused on the Australia-wide $1.5 billion Skilling Australians Fund.
The big-ticket change essentially taxes employers who hire certain types foreign workers, to fund an extra 300,000 apprentices over the next four years.
It has left lobby groups, industry bodies, the unions and the lower tiers of government asking, "What's in it for us?”.
Ms Landry has been contacted for a response on comments from Brittany Lauga MP, Jasone Clare MP, Mayor Margaret Strelow and the Insurance Council of Australia.
Brittany Lauga MP, State Member for Keppel (Labor):
TO PUT it bluntly, Brittany Lauga MP wants to know "What did Landry ask for in the Federal Budget?”
"We missed out,” she claims on behalf of Central Queensland.
Mrs Lauga has called on Ms Landry to release the wish list she provided Treasurer Scott Morrison ahead of the Federal Budget.
"Either she didn't ask for anything or Scott Morrison has completely ignored her,” Mrs Lauga said.
"Ms Landry has failed our region. She is not standing up for us in Canberra.”
"The fact is the Turnbull Government is Sydney-centric and they have focussed on New South Wales and retrieving lost ground in Western Australia in this Budget.”
Margaret Strelow, Rockhampton Region mayor:
MAYOR Strelow was unable to offer a direct response when asked, "Do you think Michelle Landry lobbied hard enough for us?”.
The question came as Cr Strelow stood outside one of the hard-hit Rockhampton businesses along flood-prone Gladstone Rd to continue her push for a South Rockhampton Flood Levee.
Cr Strelow conceded she had not had the opportunity to thoroughly investigate the Budget, but as of this morning had not see any wins specific for our region.
Jason Clare MP, Shadow Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Trade and Investment:
JASON Clare MP believes Rockhampton has once again missed out under Malcolm Turnbull's Liberal National Government.
His disappointment centres on a failure to secure funding for the South Rockhampton Flood Levee, which is yet to be backed by the LNP.
He claims Ms Landry's failure to secure the $25 million Federal commitment towards the project follows a "refusal to back Rockhampton families and business”.
"The time for talk is over. Let's just get this Levee built,” he said.
Phil Henry, Chamber of Commerce:
THE Capricornia Chamber of Commerce is disappointed not to see more funding for regional infrastructure apart from the Investment Fund in the Federal Budget.
Secretary and vice president Phil Henry said there appeared to be no new money for projects in Central Queensland, and this included Bruce Hwy upgrades.
"We hope that the various measures put more money in people's pockets to help boost the broader economy,” secretary and vice president Phil Henry said.
Mr Henry said it was critical to get money in people's pockets to boost retail in particular.
"To that extend the Budget may be good for individuals and families,” Phil said.
He made note of the low interest loans to farmers, the Regional Investment Fund and money for Tourism Australia to promote Queensland post Cyclone Debbie.
"All coastal destinations, I imagine,” he said.
Craig Allen, Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) Rockhampton branch:
QCU branch secretary Craig Allen said Rockhampton said the Federal Budget means "growing inequality”.
He claims Rockhampton will continue to suffer high unemployment levels, highlighting young residents, despite the Budget projecting a drop to 5.25% by 2021.
"What makes it worse is there is nothing in the budget to address secure jobs into the future, so we will be stuck with higher and growing casualisation of the workers,” Mr Allen said.
"Once again we see how the LNP works: they give a tax cut to those at the top and then want to slash penalty rates for those at the bottom. It transfers the financial pain to the lowest paid in our community.”
"They've done it with $50 billion in tax cuts for corporations, now they're doing the same thing with the Medicare levy.", Craig Allen Branch Secretary QCU Rockhampton said
Insurance Council of Australia (ICA):
THE ICA believes the government's decision to spend on ACCC monitoring of insurance premiums is a "missed opportunity” to fund "nation building” flood mitigation projects.
Prior to the Budget, the industry body had called on the Australian Government to ramp up its annual $26.1 million in disaster resilience programs to $200 million, as recommened by the Productivity Commission.
The ICA had thrown its support behind a South Rockhampton Flood Levee following major flooding last month.
"Providing $7.9 million to the ACCC to monitor insurance pricing in far north Queensland does not address the real problem - the impact of extreme weather on vulnerable communities,” ICA boss Rob Whelan said.
Grant Maudsley, AgForce general president:
AgForce have come out in majority support for the Federal Budget, which it says "kept the faith” to deliver on the Coalition's election commitments to advance agriculture.
The agricultural body welcomed the $8.4 billion for the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail, and continuation of the $20,000 immediate asset write-off provisions for small business.
AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said they were keen to see what the new Regional Investment Corporation funded in the Budget will deliver for Queensland.
"And whether a new Regional Growth Fund will support projects in parts of Queensland that are doing it tough,” he added.
Mr Maudsley said he was disappointed there was not a boost to already announced mobile phone blackspots funding and nothing to provide digital support and capacity building in rural and remote areas.
Murray Watt, Labor Senator for Queensland
SENATOR for Queensland Murray Watt said at a time CQ is "crying out for jobs” the PM "doesn't give a jot”.
The Labor Senator said while Malcolm Turnbull is happy to spend up big down south, the only money in the Budget for CQ is dollars he "couldn't be bothered to spend in the last Budget”.
"How many jobs has the Turnbull Government created for Central Queenslanders - let's run through the list shall we?,” Mr Watt said.
- Rockhampton flood levee - no jobs created.
- Northern Australia Roads Programme - no jobs created.
- Northern Australia Beef Roads Programme - no jobs created.
- Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund - no jobs created.
- Bowen Basin Jobs and Investment Package - no jobs created.
Mr Watt called out Treasurer Scott Morrison for not visiting Central Queensland, and said Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry should have been in his ear every day guaranteeing jobs for CQ.
"Instead we get weak excuses and nothing promises,” he said.