Seeney rejects Royalties for the Regions is pork-barrelling
IN defending the LNP's decision to open up Royalties for the Regions funding to non-mining areas, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney suggested a "little conspiracy" had been hatched.
APN Newsdesk reported last week how 14 councils suffering impacts on infrastructure and services from mining industry were missing out on millions of dollars in funding as money initially earmarked for them was doled out to other regional councils and government agencies across the state.
Mr Seeney - who clarified the money would still only go to regional councils and not to 'all councils and state government agencies' as his media release last week suggested - faced criticism and multiple questions on the topic in parliament this week.
Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin said Royalties for the Regions was "nothing more than an LNP pork-barrelling fund" - querying how Gympie and the Mary Valley Rattler could get such funds.
He said state government departments should not be competing with regional councils such as Isaac.
"To have state governments engaging effectively in a budget bidding process in competition with regional mining communities is farcical," he said.
"The Isaac Regional Council area has around half of Queensland's coal production yet it has only received $1 million, or less than half a per cent of funding allocated so far."
Condamine MP Ray Hopper, the Katter's Australian Party Queensland leader, asked why it was still called Royalties for the Regions if anyone could apply according to last week's media release.
"We started with a small amount of money in a pilot round that was aimed at addressing the growth pressures in the resources towns," Mr Seeney said.
"We built a number of badly needed pieces of community infrastructure in places like Roma, Emerald, Blackwater, Moranbah and places where growth pressure was the greatest.
"Those were the centres that we targeted first, and then in subsequent rounds it was expanded to other councils across Queensland."
Mr Seeney said the fourth round of funding, announced last week, was being incorporated into a broader strategy called RegionsQ which is about boosting economic growth in regional Queensland.
Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham came next, asking to further clarify whether Brisbane City Council and other councils in the greater Brisbane area would be eligible to apply for and receive funding from Royalties for the Regions.
"The direct answer to her question, which I have given a number of times since this little conspiracy was hatched by somebody, is that no, of course not," he said.
"It is called Royalties for the Regions. It is for regional councils."