Member for Cairns Rob Pyne has condemned the Palaszczuk Government for a failure to act in relation to systemic disadvantage experienced by Cairns and Far North Queensland in today’s state budget. He claimed proper consideration had not been given to the demands of crossbench MPs and a number of important projects had not been funded.
Pyne said, “The North Queensland crossbench made four demands of the Government. These were a) that power prices be reduced by 5%; b) a goal of reducing Nth Qld unemployment to 6% by 2020; c) unspent infrastructure funding spent in Nth Queensland to stimulate the economy; and d) establishing a North Queensland Budget Equity Board.
There had been no action on cost of living pressures. Mr. Pyne said he was happy as lobbying for new buildings at Cairns West and Trinity Bay State High School had yielded results with 4.8M and 5.8M respectively. He also welcomed funding for the Performing Arts Centre and the Mental Health Unit but said the only really big infrastructure spend was the 176M for the Cairns Convention Centre.
Many in Cairns would be disappointed in projects that were not funded, including:
• Funding specifically for West Cairns to address unemployment and poverty by targeting education, training and diversion programs in the 3M suburbs.
• Cairns State High School Undercover Area: Stage 1 of their Multipurpose Facility
• Cairns Aquarium, which needs State Government financial participation to contribute to regional jobs growth.
• Health funding to address unacceptably long waiting lists for surgery and to establish an alcohol and other drugs rehabilitation facility.
Pyne said that while you never get everything you want in any budget, it was the failure to address cost of living pressures that was most disappointing. He concluded, “Cairns residents frequently tell me the cost of living is their number one concern, whether it is business or people on low incomes. The failure to provide relief, particularly the failure to meet our call for a 5 per cent reduction in electricity prices was particularly disappointing.”
Media contact – Rob Pyne 0438 360 376