Katter demands overhaul of diluted royalties scheme
The Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has again called for an independent review of the Queensland Governments Royalties to the Region programme after it failed for the second time to return royalties to Mount Isa.
This falls embarrassingly short of what is required in Queensland, offering less than 4% return compared with 25% in the highly successful West Australian system.
The second round grants announced today were bitter sweet for my electorate of Mount Isa.
I was pleased that three projects in the Cloncurry and McKinlay shires, which I have always strongly supported, will share $6.3 million for three key projects.
But on the downside it was a slap in the face for Mount Isa city, again.
This is the region which has delivered approximately $90 million in royalties in 2011-2012 to the State Government.
But instead of repaying the people and companies of this resource-rich region, they have ignored and insulted us by dismissing our city councils bid for funds for essential infrastructure to help drought-proof this city.
Mr Seeney and his advisors thought it was more important to give $24 million to fix a road near Townsville hardly a mining centre claiming he is willing to put money back into the communities who need it most.
Meanwhile, the pressure on Mount Isas infrastructure due to mining activity is well documented and deserves support.
Mr Katter said the allocation process of Royalties to the Region funding is gravely flawed, and is turning into a slush fund for the Government for its road projects that should be done under the budget of the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
In 2012-13 mining royalties in Queensland are estimated to contribute approximately $2.3 billion, or over five per cent, of the States total revenue.
But this Government is giving back nothing like the mining communities deserve, handing out a meagre $125 million per year.
To make matters worse the State Government grew the list of eligible councils from 14 to 64 in the first round of funding, in a move criticised by mining-rich areas and also by councils at the recent LGAQ conference.
“This dilutes manyfold the potential for true mining centres in the North West to win the grants which they richly deserve and need, said Mr Katter.