Landry puts 'rocket' under senior Federal cabinet ministers
FEDERAL Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry is pleased to see the launch of Australia's first White Paper on developing Northern Australia.
But she has warned her senior colleagues in Canberra that she will continue to keep a sharp eye on the process and fight for a greater share for Central Queensland.
Ms Landry yesterday joined other Northern Australia MPs as the Prime Minister Tony Abbott released the White Paper titled: Our North, Our Future.
While hailing the document as the first serious focus on unlocking the economic potential of Northern Australia, the feisty MP has 'put a rocket' under senior cabinet Ministers saying she expects more focus to be placed on Central Queensland as the plan is unrolled over the coming years.
Ms Landry said she was particularly buoyed by comments from the Prime Minister - that the city of Rockhampton and surrounding areas 'need some attention'.
"Rocky and the Capricorn Coast have missed out on a lot over the past decade and I want to see that start to turn around," she said.
The Northern Australia White Paper will be soon followed by the release of the Federal Government's White Paper on Dams which will detail key national water infrastructure projects in more detail.
"The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister well know that what I want to see is concrete and meaningful commitment to projects such the Fitzroy Basin Corridor, Urannah Dam and the longer term Connors Dam.
"It is my desire that some of these projects will feature in the white paper on dams that is currently in the pipeline."
Yesterday's Northern Australia White Paper included:
- Details of an initial investment of $1.2 billion for feasibility studies and early projects
- A $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to provide concessional finance to encourage private enterprise to invest in northern infrastructure
- As well as a commitment to help steer indigenous land owners into business deals that would provide meaningful and sustainable business and employment opportunities as developments in Northern Australia take off.
"It is important to remember that this is the start of 20 year plan - a long term focus for Northern Australia," Ms Landry said.
"There is huge potential in our north and this is the first Federal Government ever to commit to that investment.
"However, I have made it quite clear in Canberra today to senior ministers - right up to the Prime Minister's office - that I expect to see a lot more action in the central part of Queensland.
"Central Queensland has a major role to play and needs to be given the right opportunities within the Northern Australia process."
Ms Landry yesterday told parliament that Capricornia was a huge chunk of Central Queensland and needs to be given new water and infrastructure opportunities.
"Central Queensland produces $40 billion of wealth for Australia every year, from a population base of just over 400,000 - far better per head of population than Tasmania", she said.
Flashback to the past 18 months:
- For the past 18 months, Ms Landry has been fighting hard to ensure that Capricornia and Central Queensland features on the Northern Australian scene.
- At one point, she even declared war on far northern regions like Townsville, Darwin and Cairns because she believed that early on - politicians and business leaders in those regions were hijacking the decision making process.
- During this white paper process, she fought hard for Capricornia to get Central Queensland a recognised representative on the Prime Minister's Northern Australia taskforce. It resulted in CQUniversity vice-chancellor Scott Bowman's appointment to the taskforce.