LNP candidate Tony Perrett
LNP candidate Tony Perrett Contributed

Gympie gets crumbs while Labor seats get pork barrelled: MP

THE State Government was dragging everyone further into debt for infrastructure spends that were more about pork barrelling Labor seats, Gympie MP Tony Perrett said yesterday.

"We didn't even get a decent slice of the cake,” Mr Perrett said.

"Gympie has received just more rebadging, recycling, and re-announcements and life-saving projects have been deferred for years.

"The Government has even cynically claimed Federal Government funds as its own.

"To prop up Labor seats the Government is imposing five new taxes on struggling families and businesses and also borrowing more with debt now projected to soar from 54% to 68% of revenue.

"To service the $3.7 billion alone equates to over $7000 a minute, $420,000 an hour, $10 million a day and $71 million a week for each and every year.

"While I welcome the $826,000 to construct a new building at James Nash State High School this is nothing extraordinary for a growing region.

"The school has been maxed out for a while, with students on a wait list.

"Funding the building is in line with the normal work of government expenditure to increase capacity at a school when it is bursting at the seams.

"The $9 million announcement for a $12 million upgrade of intersections from Fleming Rd to Fishermans Pocket Rd is deliberately misleading.

"The Federal Government provides 80% of the funds for this project, and the $750,000 which has already been spent on it equates to $600,000 from the Federal Government's $9.6 million share and $150,000 from the State's $2.4 million.

"Primary school subtraction would tell you that the $9 million claim by the State is clearly a blatant and cynical attempt to mislead.

"The $14 million Wide Bay and Bruce Hwy' intersection upgrade at Bell's Bridge appears to have been pushed out to 2021-22 despite the Federal Government putting up its $11.2 million share in May last year.

"The $500,000 for the Abandoned Mines Land Program at Rainbow Beach to manage sand mining legacy issues is the same commitment made last year and the year before.

"Two years ago $300,000 was committed out of a $1.3 million spend to replace the Rainbow Beach Auxiliary Fire and Rescue Station.

"Since that initial commitment in 2016 there is still nothing and last year we saw funds from the project redirected to prop up the discredited previous Labor Member for Bundaberg.

"I am concerned that despite numerous representations to ministers they are mute about the Coondoo Creek bridge, overtaking lanes on the Tin Can Bay road, advancing our hospital masterplan, leasing the Gympie TAFE building to the USC, local traffic plan, upgrades of local roads and bridges, support for feral pest and weed management or for groups which are propping up the gaps in local health and disability services.

"There is no recognition of the Gympie central part in the forestry sector which secured a $4 million commitment from the LNP to establish a Queensland Farm Forestry Centre.

"The Government is making regions such as Gympie play second, third and fourth fiddle to supporting inner city seats of wealthy greenies at the expense of regions such as Gympie.

"It doesn't even intend to reduce unemployment rates.

"Our local rate of 8.4% is 2.3% above the state average, in the broader Wide Bay region it is the worst in Australia at 9.5%, and the youth unemployment rate of 29% is only second to that in the outback.

"Taxpayers work very hard for their money and excessive spending just trickles down to households and businesses which are struggling to keep up.

"Gympie residents take home the second lowest pay cheque in the state and cringe when they see wage growth in the state's private sector at 1.9% is being outstripped by the unsustainable wage increase for public servants at 2.7%.

"The Government will spend almost $1 billion more on public servant wages next year after this year's $1.7 billion increase.

"Gympie's challenges are to address our high levels of unemployment, making safer our road network, raising the education levels of locals so that they have better chances for securing meaningful work, differentiating ourselves from other regions in attracting tourists and providing quality health and educational facilities.

"Government spending should be prudent and sensible and we certainly do not need any more tax hikes, increasing debt and higher unemployment,” he said.