Plan to pump billions into CQ and NQ regions
BILLIONS of dollars in State Government royalties would have to be spent in North, Far North and Central Queensland under an ambitious plan to be announced today by NQ First Leader Jason Costigan.
The maverick and well-travelled State MP, who now heads up his own party, is poised to unveil a $6 billion "Real Royalties for Regions" program, targeting regional, rural and remote communities from Miriam Vale in the south to the Torres Strait in the north, and west to the Northern Territory border.
Mr Costigan said NQ First's four-year program would be implemented if his fledgling party secured the balance of power at the next State Election on October 31.
The Member for Whitsunday, who was controversially dumped by the LNP in February 2019, also pointed out that "Real Royalties" would be in stark contrast to what the two major parties had served up - before and now.
"Our program is more than 12 times bigger than what the LNP or the South East Liberals gave us under Campbell Newman, Tim Nicholls and Deb Frecklington and as for the Labor equivalent, well, that's a joke after they reduced funding, compounded by a widening of who was eligible," said Mr Costigan, who'll outline his policy in Townsville today.
"What NQ First is offering is a jobs bonanza that would revitalise our struggling regional economies based on a royalties package that, through major job-creating projects, puts serious coin back into those regions that actually generate the wealth - only for south-east Queensland to suck us like a leech.
"It's obvious the South East Liberals and Brisbane-centric Labor are on the same page in ripping us off.
"We have all these exports of coal, base metals, gas and whatever else and those royalties are building tunnels, bridges and much more in the south-east corner.
"I say enough is enough and hence we're launching this landmark policy."
Mr Costigan pointed to Brisbane's $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project as an example of the infrastructure being delivered in the south-east at the expense of people in North, Far North and Central Queensland.
"You've got billions of dollars going into something that will shorten commute times by a few minutes while we have roads that are flooded, unsealed, rough as guts or all of the above," he said.
"We can't get the basics while the rivers of gold still run fast in the south-east. If North Queensland First gets it way, that will certainly change."