Regional Deal in limbo as state refuses to back plan
IT'S still in the planning stages, but the Hinkler Regional Deal has already hit a major hurdle, with Labor refusing to sign a Statement on Status to develop the project, which has been labelled a "dud from the beginning".
Late this afternoon Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt slammed the State Government for not coming to the table, but Deputy Premier Jackie Trad hit back, saying the government wanted to see a deal that included the entire Wide Bay-Burnett region.
In Brisbane today, Minister for Minister for Regional Services Senator Bridget McKenzie, Mr Pitt, Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey and Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor George Seymour signed the commitment, but the State Government, specifically Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, was notably absent.
"I just find it incredibly disappointing that Queensland Labor would take such a short-sighted political approach to regional investment. Given that the Federal and State Governments today worked together to make an announcement in the Brisbane suburbs that would deliver better sporting facilities, they refuse to come together to do a deal that would deliver significant benefits for Hinkler," Senator McKenzie said.
While Mr Pitt said the losers would be the residents, businesses and community groups across the Hervey Bay and Bundaberg regions and he would be making sure that the community knew exactly who did not sign the Statement.
"Queensland Labor need to see beyond the city limits of Brisbane," he said.
"To turn their back on signing this commitment is turning their back on our region."
But Ms Trad hit back, saying she was not prepared to support a deal unless it was a "genuine regional deal".
"The 'Hinkler Regional Deal' the Commonwealth is proposing isn't about delivering for the region, it's about protecting Keith Pitt at the federal election," she said.
"Every other city deal has been based on local council areas but the Hinkler regional deal is based on the boundaries of Keith Pitt's electorate.
"We won't sign up to a deal that excludes Maryborough and leaves other councils in the region behind."
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders also weighed in, saying "this deal has been a dud from the beginning".