The Moranbah welcome sign on the way to town. Picture: Rae Wilson
The Moranbah welcome sign on the way to town. Picture: Rae Wilson

No action on treasurer’s $100m regional mining fund: MP

The state government has been accused of "dropping the ball" on a $100m regional mining fund announced in May last year, with one MP saying there was no evidence benefits from the pool had been provided to regional mining communities.

Burdekin MP Dale Last also accused Treasurer Cameron Dick of "handballing" responsibility for the fund to Deputy Premier Steven Miles.

A deal on the Resources Community Infrastructure Fund was reached in May with 27 companies to tip in $70m over three years.

In exchange, the state government would add $30m and guarantee it would not raise royalty rates on coal and minerals for the next three years to deliver certainty to the industry.

In a question on notice to parliament, Mr Last asked the treasurer to advise when the Resources Community Infrastructure Fund advisory committee was scheduled to make recommendations on the infrastructure projects to be funded under the program and when construction activities would start.

In his response, Mr Dick said the fund was now part of the deputy premier's portfolio and asked for the question to be directed to him.

The Daily Mercury understands since the 2020 state election and its associated portfolio changes, the fund and its structural support has been transferred from treasury to state development.

But despite the fund being announced about 10 months ago, Mr Miles said the development of funding guidelines had still not been publicly released.

"The committee, chaired by former Townsville mayor Tony Mooney, is now set to meet in mid-April. This was rescheduled from this week," the deputy premier said.

"The committee members have a mix of skills, experience and representation to ensure the needs of those resources communities will be properly assessed when making funding decisions.

"I look forward to hearing the results of the meeting which will include the development of funding guidelines that will be publicly released."

Mr Dick said he was proud to set up the fund as one of his first acts as treasurer.

"Just one week after I began in this role, I signed a memorandum of understanding with the Queensland Resources Council," he said.

"The Palaszczuk Government put our $10m on the table not long after that MOU was signed.

"The final contributions from resource companies have been made to treasury during the March 2021 quarter, allowing the process of delivering for projects to commence."

Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Burdekin MP Dale Last. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

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Mr Last said the residents of mining communities deserved to know what was happening with the $100m and when they would they see some action on the ground.

"This fund was touted as providing benefits to the communities where resource workers and their families live," the Burdekin MP said.

"There's no evidence that any benefits have been provided and the treasurer has now handballed responsibility for the fund to the deputy premier.

"The people who live and work in places like the Bowen Basin contribute more than $5bn in royalties to the Queensland government, but you only have to look at the roads in the area, as one example, to see that there is very little return to those communities for that contribution."

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