Mayor Brad Carter delivers a stinging assessment of government policy during a speech at the launch of the Rockhampton Region Investment Brief yesterday.
Mayor Brad Carter delivers a stinging assessment of government policy during a speech at the launch of the Rockhampton Region Investment Brief yesterday. Chris Ison

Gillard neglecting Rocky: Carter

MAYOR Brad Carter wasn't pulling any punches yesterday as he accused the Gillard government of failing to understand the Rockhampton region's infrastructure needs.

The Federal Budget, he said, sadly neglected the critical road and rail infrastructure essential to the region's economic development.

Normally diplomatic, Cr Carter used the launch of the region's investment document to slam the government's failure to support Rockhampton's small and medium-sized businesses.

And he claimed there was now evidence that this lack of commitment was hurting the region's chances of attracting major job and investment opportunities.

“We have a number of large-scale businesses looking to expand their footprint in our region who have indicated they will go elsewhere because the budget gave them no confidence that the government would provide this critical infrastructure,” he said.

“It is frustrating for the council and our partners.

"We do our best in Canberra to promote the region, but we have been overlooked once again.”

Kirsten Livermore, the Federal Member for Capricornia, had been invited to the launch of the investment document, but was not there to hear Cr Carter's criticisms.

In particular, the mayor took the government to task for excluding the region from Priority Employment Areas designation.

He said Rockhampton deserved to be included in the program designed to stimulate the local economy and generate new jobs for the socially disadvantaged.

It had been identified as one of the 10 most disadvantaged communities in the country.

“Our welfare recipients have instead been targeted through a tiny cut of a $38 million national program that addresses symptoms of disadvantage, overlooking the chronic under-investment in infrastructure and small and medium enterprises that can create and sustain the jobs they need.”

Business as usual would not deliver lasting change and improved services for the region, he said.

“If given appropriate general economic stimulus and labour development, our region can deliver a return on investment in both economic and social terms.”

Later, answering questions about the document, Cr Carter said he hoped it would prove useful in persuading the government to change its attitude to the Rockhampton region.

A spokesman for Kirsten Livermore said: “Kirsten has been very busy today, but will be very happy to respond in detail to comments made by Cr Carter at the launch of the brochure.”



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