by Robert J Lee, editor-at-large
Railways have become an endangered asset under the Queensland LNP Government, in spite of its ‘northern development’ rhetorical spin to turn north Queensland into the food bowl of Asia.
It seems the Liberal Party, directed by former trucking magnate Bruce McIver, is terrified of dissatisfied northerners getting up a head of steam promoting the creation of a new state of North Queensland.
The LNP Member for the far north electorate of Cook, David Kempton is championing the destruction of the Mareeba to Atherton rail line and sale of Mareeba railway land. Excavators have been onsite for two weeks tearing up the line for scrap metal and Mr Kempton has been giving hand-outs of the proceeds to various sporting clubs.
He then tried to bribe a hard-working group of railway buffs at nearby Ravenshoe by presenting them with 200 sleepers, but the spin got in the way of a good story and Kempton was forced to publish an apology to the group in the following week’s newspaper.
This week in a flurry of more newspaper grabs from a previously unseen or unheard of Kempton, bike clubs and other sporting groups have been presented with large cheques. It is Liberal philosophy not to put this illicit revenue to better use towards building more age retirement homes or upgrading the appalling road network, at least as a trade-off for selling public assets and also providing some employment for the substantial struggling local youth workforce, albeit it would be temporary work.
The LNP prefers bribes to sound regional economic policy or looking after its citizens.
There are no long-term strategies from this ‘look after our mates in the south east’ mob.
This progressive government intends to turn this 30 klm rail corridor into a pushbike track. Wow! such ingenuity and wouldn’t the Greens be proud of Mr Kempton?