Regions left behind as SEQ gorges on govt cash

Mar 21, 2022

Regions left behind as SEQ gorges on govt cash

Mar 21, 2022

The South-East Queensland (SEQ) City Deal might improve “liveability” in Brisbane but will do nothing to advance the State’s future economic position or quality of life in oft-neglected regional and rural communities, Katter’s Australian Party Leader Robbie Katter has said.

Mr Katter said in the name of equity the $1.8 billion fund, details of which were announced today, should be matched (at least in part) across regional Queensland.

He listed industry-enabling investment in the CopperString 2.0 project (which could amount to part-ownership by government), stimulation for the biofuels sector and major upgrades to the Cairns-Mareeba Road and the Bruce Highway as key priorities.

The regions are also deficient a range of basic services like health (access to maternity/dialysis services and CT scanners) and investment in education, policing, and crime reduction.

“It’s like regional and North Queensland doesn’t exist,” Mr Katter said.

“This fund is designed to address the impact of population growth in the south-east, but fails to consider – let alone mitigate – the fact that population decline in regional areas is only encouraged by disparate funding focuses such as this.

“You cannot constantly ignore the development of the regions, making them less and less liveable, and then wonder why everyone has flocked to the city.”

Mr Katter said almost every major funding decision made by the government was steeped in politics.

“Every Parliamentary sitting myself and my KAP colleagues meet in good faith with Ministers and Departments and raise directly with them the needs of our communities,” he said.

“Some of these needs are specific and small-scale and others relate to the kind of job-generating infrastructure we desperately need to build a strong future not only for the regions, but the entire State.

“More often than we are comfortable with, budgetary limitations are used as the excuse as to why issues can’t be directly addressed or projects can’t be funded.

“I know my father, the Member for Kennedy, does the same in Canberra – just last week his appeals were denied for the Federal Government to fund life-saving CT scanners in Charters Towers and Ingham even though they just recently paid for one in Bowen.

“These sort of funding decisions shouldn’t be based on political whims.”

The SEQ City Deal includes the following funding promises:

  • $450 million for a 2032 Olympics-driven commitment for a new Woolloongabba Brisbane Metro station;
  • Funding for a $190.5 million green bridge connecting Kangaroo Point to the CBD;
  • A $250 million Liveability Fund for south-east Queensland;
  • $41 million to upgrade the ferry terminal at North Stradbroke Island;
  • $40.5 million to road safety upgrades on the Brisbane Valley Highway;
  • $25 million to increase housing stock in a priority section of Toowoomba.


Mr Katter said he acknowledged Townsville, the capital of North Queensland, has had a City Deal in place since 2016, but it was dwarfed by the SEQ funding promise and to date had failed to deliver the kind of industry-enabling infrastructure needed across the under-developed region.