Michelle Landry.
Michelle Landry. Allan Reinikka

Rockhampton and Yeppoon both miss out on vital funding

BREAKING 7PM: FEDERAL Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said she is 'dreadfully' disappointed by the outcome of round one of the Federal Government's Stronger Regions Fund.

But the MP has vowed to regroup with local councils and community groups and fight on for round two of the $1 billion funding pool for regional projects.

The Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss today met face to face with Rockhampton's Mayor, Livingstone Shire Mayor and Capricorn Enterprise to inform them that key projects submitted under round one of the Stronger Regions Fund were not successful.

In some cases the projects relied on funding from the previous state government. But there was no guarantee the new Labor government would supply the money. The Federal Co-ordinator General ruled the projects therefore did not meet the dollar for dollar criteria.

Rockhampton Regional Council's riverbank project from 2014 and the Rockhampton Convention Centre project were deemed ineligible at the start as they did not meet the dollar for dollar criteria because there was written guarantee that any state support would be binding beyond the state election, Ms Landry said.

During the Victorian state election the Labor Party, then in opposition, wrote to the Federal Government pledging to honour funding commitments to certain key Stronger Regions projects in that state if it was elected. There was no such promise from Labor in Queensland's state election.

The Livingstone Shire foreshore project and new Capricorn Rescue Helicopter Service hangar projects scored extremely well under the criteria, but also missed out on Round 1. All of the applications were reviewed and assessed by bureaucrats from the Department of Infrastructure.

"I am dreadfully disappointed at the outcome. I fought hard to push these projects forward. I pushed the importance of these projects to our local economy and I feel the community has been let down in a way," Ms Landry said.

"I support all of these projects. I will be seeking to have a team from the department come here to provide each group with thorough feedback and help them resubmit for round 2, opening in May."

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll, which submitted a proposal seeking $10 million for a convention centre in Rockhampton, said while disappointed, she was encouraged by the process to apply again.

"We are definitely encouraged by the process and are keen to reassess our application and resubmit for round two of the funding pool," Ms Carroll said," this was a very rigorous process and we look forward to working with Michelle Landry to push ahead."

Ms Landry said it was the National Party that fought hard to bring about the $1 billion Stronger Regions Fund for regional Australia. There are four more rounds for local groups to apply for over the next four years. Round 1 projects that were approved will be announced in next week's budget.



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