Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan. Picture: Tony Martin
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan. Picture: Tony Martin

Costigan’s $160m promise for ag schools

$1 BILLION in capital works over four years for north Queensland sounds nice doesn’t it? Well that’s that NQ First leader and Jason Costigan is promising if his separatists party can secure a balance of power in the state election.

Among the areas to gain substantially will be agricultural colleges if the ambitious Building the North program comes to fruition.

The program will form part of NQ First’s $6 billion royalty-funded Real Royalties for Regions program announced by Mr Costigan in February.

The program has earmarked retires ag colleges in Emerald, Longreach and Burdekin for reopening and the establishment of others in the Burdekin and Tablelands regions in what Mr Costigan called a “back to the future” move worth $160m.

“These places were wonderful institutions,” he said.

“We have to put agriculture back on a pedestal.”

Mr Costigan said the funds from Building the North will also be funnelled into an array of infrastructure projects including, a maritime university for the Whitsundays, schools and police stations.

The Emerald Ag College. Photo Simon Green / CQ News
The Emerald Ag College. Photo Simon Green / CQ News

The concerns regarding the state of government coffers in the wake of COVID-19 need no explaining, but Mr Costigan said the royalty-funded program should provide plenty of lifeblood although distribution need addressing.

“It will be the regions that will drive this economic renaissance,” he said.

“There’s plenty of money coming into Qld because of what comes out of our ports. The money gets channelled into the southeast corner like no tomorrow and on the good days, we get the crumbs.” He will be demanding a royalty distribution policy which will give North Qld 12 times as much return than any pervious royalties program.

But for now, it’s just words and without the balance of power, it will remain just that.

With little over six months until polling day, NQ First remains candidate-less with Costigan the lone party member.

But after clearing his name over sexual harassment allegations he claims were a ploy to have him ousted from his former LNP party, he said the phones have been “ringing hot”, promising Central a candidate before his next visit.

“I have work to do in Rockhampton today to chase up some more people for seats here in Central Queensland,” he said.

“We’re getting closer to having people vetted by our party. It would be wrong of me to tell you who is interested in running in what seat and where. Next time I come to Rockhampton I’ll be standing here with someone,” he said.



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