2 April 2019: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has commented on the 2019/20 budget.
- Budget surplus of $7.1 bn
General Budget comments:
“For the first time in 30 years our Government has committed to building dams and we praise all of the people that have fought the great battle to secure this wonderful breakthrough”.
“Government is reduced to arguing that some people should get more, some should get less.
“KAP we want to make the cake bigger so everyone gets more,” Mr Katter said.
- NQ Water Infrastructure Authority – establish 12 March 2019 (roll out Hells Gates Dam, HIPCO, Big Rocks Weir)
“This authority streamlines and overrides hurdles we’ve been made to jump through for the past 30 years.”
- $11.6m Mareeba Dimbulah Water Supply Scheme
“This is much needed and long overdue but we must go after with aggression. The North Australia Development Fund for the North Johnstone Transfer, the Upper Mitchell Dam, realignment of the Tully Hydro Penstock. Hell’s Gates Dam will supply almost all of North Qld’s baseload power, the Tully hydro realignment will provide all of North Qld’s peak load requirements.”
- $54m for Big Rocks Weir and Hell’s Gates
- $180m for Hughenden Irrigation Scheme (HIPCO)
“This is the culmination of a journey which started when my father took me, at the age of 18, to Charlie Phillott’s keyline irrigation scheme.
“The great battle for Bradfield, which we won, but then we watched within a year both the much maligned and greatest ever Bjelke Petersen Qld Government and the Malcolm Fraser Government both go down 11 months later.
“Hughenden will change the world as we know it. It is a template for 17 other schemes in North Qld and five in Northern Territory’s Western Gulf”
- $100bn over next decade
- $380m Townsville area
- Constructing stadium
- Port Channel Capacity Upgrade
- Preserving the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor
“My great grandfather paid for the original two cranes which created Port of Townsville. He did get repaid later. This is a welcome initiative and will mostly benefit the North West area.
“The upgrades to the railway line – that line is there to service Mt Isa – fertiliser, copper, silver, lead and zinc. The major beneficiary is my homeland.”
- Roads of Strategic Importance – $50m Cairns to Northern Territory border, $200m Tennant Creek to Townsville
- $2.2bn for Safer Roads
“The notorious Feluga intersection and the Silkwood Kurrimine intersections on the Bruce Highway are in urgent need of funding. Whilst it is not notorious, the Mareeba bypass is vital.
“We are going after these projects with super aggression.”
- $1bn to improve freight routes and access to ports
“I’m thinking very strongly in terms of Normanton, which is out for 1-2 months of the year at the present moment with flooding; and which will become over the next three years the major live cattle port export terminal in Australia.
- $100m over four years to 2022-23 for regional airports
“Innisfail’s Mundoo Airport must be shortlisted for assistance. Through cyclones and flooding, it’s the only all-weather airport for the 80,000 people between Townsville and Cairns”.
- $2.2bn to fix blackspots, ageing bridges and funding to Councils for roads.
“It’s absolutely vital. I deeply regret that, except for the Mulgrave River Bridge, almost every bridge in Kennedy would fit into this category”.
- Another $200m for the fourth round of Building Betters Regions Fund
“We have got money under this fund before. It is the ‘big key’ to the water development in Georgetown, Normanton and the Mid-West, Cloncurry and back to Hughenden which we vitally need.”
- $150,000 for Kennedy through the Stronger Community Program
- $272m over four years for the Regional Growth Fund
- $6.3bn drought support
- $3.3bn flood support
- Establishing the Future Drought Fund
- NQ Livestock Industry Recovery Agency – providing long-term assistance, including $1.7bn low-interest loans.
- $3.9bn Emergency Response Fund
- Income tax exemption for qualifying grants made to producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations affected by NQ floods
- $4.3m from 2019-20 to improve and maintain National Drought Map
- Funding for schools in flood-affected areas
- Additional $3m mental health services for flood-affected people in North and Western Queensland
- One-off payment of $1,000 to students who between 25 January and 14 February 2019 received a qualifying payment and whose parental home is in the local government areas of Burdekin, Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Douglas, Flinders, Hinchinbrook, McKinlay, Richmond, Townsville or Winton. NB Qualifying payments are Assistance for Isolated Children Basic Boarding Allowance, Assistance for Isolated Children Second Home Allowance, Assistance for Isolated Children Distance Education Allowance, Abstudy school fees. This will be paid by 23 April 2019.
- $300m for two grant programs for restocking where farmers can access up to $400,000 to rebuild and restock.
- $5m over five years as part of $10m joint funded program with Queensland Government to tackle prickly acacia.
- $5m grant to the CWA to provide financial assistance’
“The prickly acacia has taken over one million of the five million hectares in the Mid-Western Gulf plains country. There’s controversy as to whether it’s an advantage or a weed and I’ve got to say that the ubiquitous nature of the tree, with no leaves for most of the year, I’m afraid on the other side of the fence, and I’m tremendously pleased at this money.
“Low Interest Loans– my rage at the current proposal, and I don’t want to pre-empt further discussions with Shane Stone, CEO of the NQ Livestock Industry Recovery Agency, but currently the scheme rescued the banks from their bad debt and imposes extra debt burden upon farmers.
“Banks wrote off their bad debts; under the current proposal, the banks’ bad debts have been removed and the farmers have been given an extra debt burden. That was no solution except for the banks.
$300m restocking: “This is much better – actual grants.”
- No Queensland funding for remote housing.
“The removal of the housing scheme is disastrous. Probably ¾ of the houses have an occupancy of 10-15 people in a house designed for 4-5 people. Desperately we need to recreate the housing scheme of the 80s utilising work for dole labour, exclusively local Indigenous labour, and give title deeds.
Bureau of Meteorology
- $77.2m over 23 years from 2019-20 to improve radar coverage in regional areas (including between Charters Towers and Hughenden, Burdekin and Flinders region rain gauges)
“This is vital because we did not have detailed rain gauges in 74-75 floods, in the upper flinders we were caught totally ambushed. Massive flooding did untold destruction; we didn’t know it was coming.”
- $137.8m over five years additional biosecurity funding
- $9.2m for yellow crazy ant
“Fantastically good news because we’ve raised repeatedly the issue of crazy ants.
“Biosecurity is essential, we have had constant breakdowns in quarantine, while most attributable to ‘free market’ policies, that just makes our case stronger for quarantine bolstering up.
Jobs and skills
- $525m skills package
- Create 80,000 new apprenticeships
- Double incentive payments to employers to $8,000 per placement
- New apprentices receive $2,000 incentive payment
- Ten new training hubs
- $62m to boost literacy, numeracy and digital skills
“We desperately need that (the $8,000 for employers for placements). We have numerous people in the mining industry at Mt Isa where the training skills have disappeared. Where there were 720 apprenticeships at MIMs there would be flat out being 2-3 dozen now (not entirely MIM’s fault). We would plead that the slipways, auto electricians, sugar mills, most of all our mining operations and Councils – they will benefit from this and we plead with them to take this money for NQ.
- $9bn for science research technology
- $20bn Medical Research Future Fund (previously announced)
“Medical research is one of the areas in Australia that is almost holding its own. I think it’s laudable that the government is concentrating on it.
- $80bn spend on healthcare
- $160m to improve Indigenous health
- $60m for James Cook University Tropical Enterprise Centre in Queensland to become Centre of Excellence in Tropical Medicine
- Upgrading Townsville Hospital
- Medicare Benefits Schedule, including diagnostic imaging for breast cancer and heart health checks
- $461m for youth mental health and suicide prevention
- 30 new Headspace centres
- Increased support for Indigenous youth
- Treatment for early psychosis
- Perinatal mental health
- Extra counselling for communities that have suffered natural disasters
- Increasing Breast Screen Australia from women aged 50-69 to 50-74
- $21.7m in 2019-20 for dental services in Queensland
- Heart of Australia, $12m three-year partnership providing mobile cardiology services. Heart of Australia will have two ‘Heart Buses’ on the road providing a number of health services on a fortnightly basis including gynaecology, neurology and endocrinology to residents of 16 towns including Dalby, Goondiwindi, Stanthorpe, St George, Charleville, Quilpie, Roma, Cloncurry, Emerald, Barcaldine, Blackall, Longreach, Winton, Hughenden, Charters Towers, Moranbah, Richmond, Weipa, Cooktown, Sarina, Palm island, Biloela, Childers, Proserpine and Ayr.
“This service saves the lives of those in the bush who would not otherwise access heart related services.
“You are twice as likely to die of heart issues if you live in the bush. The work that this organisation is doing could be described as work by the Good Lord himself.”
- $550m over five years from 2017-18 to strengthen rural, regional and remote health outcomes, in particular creating a new junior training doctor program to support training in rural settings
- Additional $84.1m over four years from 2018-19 for the RFDS to increase dental care, mental health and emergency aeromedical services.
- $8.2m over four years from 2018-19 to improve access to maternity services for women in rural and remote areas.
- $793.9m over four years from 2018-19 for the rural health and multidisciplinary health program to encourage recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural and remote Australia.
“We are deeply appreciative but I don’t think that is going to get us where we need to be. There is an extra 100 places at JCU Medical School and we need an extra $150,000 to be paid to doctors serving in private practice in towns in NQ, and public-private practice in these towns as well.
“But the government’s efforts are laudable but we just need change of direction.
- 10,000 new home care packages
- Additional financial support for residential care (capital works with a focus on regions)
“There are 2,500 people that need to go into aged care centres and we probably have less than 200 beds – an appalling shortfall.
“The home care program actually came out of the Mid-West. The pilot program started in Richmond and Hughenden and we pay those great pioneers a tribute today, as we see the full flowering of their work.
“Meals on Wheels needs assistance – less regulation and more assistance.
- $84m for carer respite
“One of best initiatives by Government in the last 30 years.
- One-off energy assistance payment (for pensioners) – $75/singles, $125/couples
- $10m detailed evaluation feasibility projects in North and Central Queensland
“All we want is the freedom to revert to use our balance of power to secure ‘operating cost only’ for electricity. Currently $2,500 per year per household, will be reduced to under $700.
“The silly nature of solar panels and subsidies and the ‘save the planet brigade’ and the most outrageous profiteering by the State Government – takes it up to costs of $3000m a year in what is just a secret tax and falls part heavily on families young families and our retirees. These are the last people on the planet that you should be taxing.
- $300bn to schools, an increase of 63 per cent
- Local school community program
- New scholarship program – 1,000 students a year to study in regional Australia
- $453m to extend pre-school education
- $9.8m over four years for non-government distance education schools
- Tax cuts for low and middle income-earners:
- For taxpayers earning up to $126,000/year (better off each year – single income $1,080, families with dual income $2,160).
- More than 10 million Australians will benefit. 4.5m will receive the full tax cut. To start 1 July 2019.
- Decreasing tax rate 32.5 per cent to 30 per cent from 1 July 2024 – 94 per cent of taxpayers will pay no more than 30 cents in the dollar.
“Government is reduced to arguing that some people should get more, some should get less.
“KAP we want to make the cake bigger so everyone gets more.
- Cut tax to 25 per cent
- New $2bn fund
- Instant asset write-off increased and expanded from $25,000 to $30,000 for businesses with turnover of up to $50 million
“Don’t want to denigrate benefits but it’s not about micro rearrangements. The emphasis is shallow to say the least.
Banking royal commission
- $600 million for ASIC and APRA to implement royal commission findings
“I am sickened by that proposal. They are two of the most disgraceful institutions I have ever dealt with in my 50 years of political life. I can give case after case where they have failed to act.
“What they do with their time nobody knows.
“To think they’re still there and getting money I find sickening.
- Banning excessive credit card surcharges
- Protecting retirement savings from undue erosion from inappropriate insurance premiums and excessive fees
- Establishing the Australian Financial Complaints Authority
- Establishing a compensation scheme of last resort
- Significantly broadening and increasing civil penalties
- Increasing ASIC’s and APRA’s powers
- Requiring mortgage brokers to work in best interests of their clients
Mistreatment of people with a disability royal commission
- Half a billion dollars for royal commission into the mistreatment of people with a disability
- $60m increase to export marketing development grants
- $29.4m over four years to enhance agricultural exports and trade
Multinational tax avoidance
- Crackdown to raise $12bn.
That the government would crack down on multinationals: “I believe in the tooth fairy and that the abominable snowman comes from Bedourie.”
- $3.5bn Climate Solutions package ($2bn to go to working with farmers and Indigenous communities)
- $100m Environmental Restoration Fund to improve water quality and erosion
- $3.1m in 2019-20 in Queensland for critical threats such as feral animals and weeds in world heritage areas
- $150,000 for Kennedy for the Communities Environment Program for community-based groups
“Pig numbers in North Queensland are currently at 10.5 million. This figure explodes to 25 million within six years without adequate management.
“The cassowary, the symbol of NQ, is doomed; the eggs are taken by the pigs. The turtles are doomed; eggs laid on the beach are now being totally taken by the pigs. The Julia Creek dunnart, Australia’s most endangered species, cannot survive the pigs. In part or overwhelmingly the turbidity impacting the Great Barrier Reef has to be coming from the pigs.
“Nothing is being done by the Government to oppress the pigs at all.
“There has to be serious money put forward here, although with proper licencing, we don’t need much money at all. The young blokes will go out hunting, but I will be the first to say it has to be tightly controlled in terms of days and areas, so we have complete security,”
- $328 m for women’s safety
- $82.2m for frontline services for women and children
- $78.4m to provide safe places for people impacted by family and domestic violence
- $68.3m for domestic and family violence prevention
- $64m for counselling services
- $35m for support and prevention strategies for First Australians
- Safer Communities Fund for religious organisations
- Funding to prevent bullying
- Expanding the cashless debit card
- $337m for drug strategy
- $20.1m over four years from 1 July 2020 to expand no-interest loans of up to $1,500 for women experiencing family and domestic violence.
- $680m to support service men and women deployed overseas.
- Joint agreement on a comprehensive strategic partnership between Australia and Singapore through the Australia-Singapore Military Training Initiative – 14,000 Singapore armed forces unilateral training for up to 18 weeks annually. One of the two sites in Greenvale. Singapore Government will provide $2.25bn, providing an estimated $50m spent in Queensland annually during construction. Construction will commence in third quarter of 2019.
- Extending the Farm Household Allowance (forced sale of livestock will be exempt from the income test)
- $8.7m over 11 years to set up mandatory code of conduct for dairy industry
- $1.9m to develop national agriculture workforce strategy
- $24.6m 2019-20 in Queensland for improving cattle supply chain
- $71.7m 2019-20 for northern Australia roads – Queensland component
- $2.9m 2019-20 for national leadership for agriculture innovation
- $15m for wild dog fencing
“I can’t believe that the LNP and the Nationals not only voted against a minimum price scheme for milk but argued against it. Using arguments that would oppose any survival program for rural industries.
“Farmers everywhere else in world get 41% of their income from the government. Our farmers get nothing from the government.
“We have an artificially high dollar, propped up to nearly twice its value.
“Beef and sugar industries have been cheated out of half their incomes because of an inflated dollar. Finally on the home market you only have 2 places to sell agriculture produce to – the supermarket duopoly. And the LNP and Nationals are running around talking about codes of conduct!
- $160m for two additional rounds of the Mobile Blackspot Funding Program.