Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan has a simple message for the Queensland Government: “Stop bickering, start building.”
Minister Canavan said the Coalition wanted to work with the State but was waiting for the Labor Government’s support for projects like Rookwood Weir and the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor.
“Together, these two projects alone are worth $280 million and will create thousands of jobs.
“Rookwood Weir would create an extra $1 billion a year in agricultural production and 2,100 new jobs, and the rail project to upgrade the Port of Townsville would cement its position as a minerals export hub.
“We’ve put up our share of funds and both projects could get going straight away but the Queensland Government is yet to reveal its position on them.
“Our money is there. Let’s just get on with the job and start building. I am calling on the Queensland Government to step up, put their money on the table and let’s get going. I have found it a little frustrating how long this is taking for projects that are clearly in the best interests of northern development.”
The Minister’s comments follow a statement today from the Premier that she wants to convene a meeting with Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan and Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner to coincide with the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to promote northern development.
“If the NT wanted to develop the north and create jobs, they would lift their ban on drilling for gas. The Territory has enormous reserves of onshore gas – locked up by the NT Government – that could create thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of income.”
Minister Canavan said initiatives underway from the Turnbull-Joyce Coalition Government for Northern Australia included:
- the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility – established on 1 July 2016 – which had received more than 100 inquiries for loans, of which 47 were in active consideration and five reported by NAIF to be near financial close;
- the $600 million Northern Australia Roads Programme and the $100 million Beef Roads Programme;
- the $75 million Townsville-based Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia, for which a board of directors had been appointed and first-round applications for funding had been opened; and
- the Coalition Government’s $500 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility to incentivise State and Territory Governments to fast-track priority projects that will support growth in our agricultural industries and regional communities.