Katter: Royalties 2 Regions a recycled gift in new wrapping

The Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has slammed today’s “paltry refund” for Mount Isa’s mining royalties as an insult to hundreds of thousands of workers who have helped pave the government’s tunnels, freeways and office buildings in southeast Queensland.

“For Jeff Seeney to come out today and offer just $500,000 to the Mount Isa City Council, on the third round of his Royalties to the Regions, is evidence he is politicising the programme and shows neither he nor his government is serious about development in remote and rural areas.

“Ours is a city which has delivered an average of $90 million in mining royalties to the State Government every year for the past 10 years.

“It is grossly irresponsible for this government to now use these royalties for political purposes when they are critically needed to reinvigorate resource industry areas.

“In the Mount Isa council footprint, centre of a rich mining province, he has insulted us by dismissing our city council’s bid for $7 million for essential infrastructure to help drought-proof this city.

“He throws us a $500,000 scrap and was left floundering in a local ABC interview earlier this week when challenged to explain why Mount Isa had received nothing in the first two rounds.

“Yet he saw fit in round 2 to deliver $24 million from the same R2R scheme for a minor crossing near Townsville in what was nothing more than pork barrelling to complete a pre-election promise.

“The LNP Royalties to the Region concept has fallen embarrassingly short of the effective and fairer Western Australian model which refunds 25% of royalties against Mr Seeney’s 5%-6% return.

“They then expanded the list of eligible councils from 14 to 64 which massively diluted the pool for true mining centres like Mount Isa to win the grants they deserve.”

Mr Katter said R2R had become another government slush fund for many of its road projects that should be done under the Main Roads and Transport budget.