2023-24 State Budget lacks middle ground
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has labelled the 2023-24 Queensland Budget as “hit and miss” when it comes to cost-of-living relief and investment in the regions.
Mr Dametto said that although funding was delivered for some big-ticket items at a state level, Hinchinbrook missed out on some of the smaller projects that would have made a big difference to the north.
“I made it clear that Hinchinbrook desperately needed funding to help ease problems with health, housing and youth crime, all issues that could be combatted with appropriately applied Government funds,” he said.
“The most far-reaching benefits for Queenslanders are the free Kindy and the energy rebates. Eligible Queenslanders can receive more than $1,000 off their power bills which is desperately needed, although will likely be fully resumed by the 28% rise in electricity costs expected in regional Queensland come 1 July.
“Other funding flowing our way will see road infrastructure projects such as the Townsville Northern Intersection Upgrade Project funded to completion and construction of the Burdell Ambulance Station.
“Hinchinbrook Island will receive a $1.5 million upgrade for campgrounds and commercial guided walks on the Thorsborne Trail.
“There are some minor school infrastructure upgrades on the agenda as well as the Hinchinbrook Shire Council who have also scored a share of the Works for Queensland funding for delivery of the Orient Road water security project.
“The State Government received $15.3 billion in revenue collected from coal royalties and it would have been nice to see that wealth spread more equitably throughout regional Queensland.
“Despite the Government boasting a ‘record health budget’ they were only able to increase the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme by $10 per night for accommodation and four cents per kilometre for fuel expenses. That’s pretty shameful and offers little reprieve to those who have no option but to travel long distances for medical care.
“Despite a commitment by the Health Minister, there is also nothing in the budget for a CT scanner at the Ingham Hospital, but if you go just down the road to Townsville, the Hospital there is set to receive a $530 million expansion. I am told that not all is lost as there may be pockets of money this project could be funded from, but that can’t be guaranteed.
“There is nothing to help ease the housing pressures in Hinchinbrook, but if you live in Townsville and are classified as a low-income earner, you might be lucky to have some more housing options become available.
“Lastly, the Palaszczuk Government will continue to pour millions of wasted dollars into misguided youth crime initiatives. It’s apparent they have given up trying to combat youth crime and have shifted their focus towards helping Queenslanders learn to live with it instead.”
Some of the Hinchinbrook projects that are yet to be funded include:
- A 24-hour CT scanner for the Ingham Hospital.
- Doubling of the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme.
- Expanding the First Home Buyer’s Grant to apply to existing properties in non-metropolitan areas.
- Relocation sentencing.
- North Shore Boulevard and Townsville Northern suburbs road infrastructure upgrades.
- Marine infrastructure projects including the Forrest Beach Boat Ramp, the Lucinda Sea Wall and Port Hinchinbrook.
- The RegenAqua Project.
- Paluma to Wallaman Falls trails.
- Expansion of the Ingham TAFE campus.
- Stone River Weirs (feasibility study).
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