State scene with Robbie Katter MP

THE ELECTION campaign is in full swing before Saturday’s polling. Please remember that we now have compulsory preferential voting here in Queensland, so make sure to number every box on the ballot to ensure your vote counts. The major parties are on their predictable spree of making nonsensical promises for the North West. A perfect example is the $5 million pledged by the LNP for a feasibility study into a super pit which has everybody scratching their heads, including Glencore. This money would be far better spent fixing airfares or investing in irrigation schemes.

The burning issue of soaring power bills has dominated discussions I’ve had with people in the electorate. Currently, Mount Isa is not connected to the national electricity grid, we don’t get any choice of supplier and still have to pay the outrageous network charges which make up almost half of your power bill. This is price gouging by government, pure and simple. We’re being forced to pay for the poles and wires that we’ve already paid for, again and again and again. This rort has got to stop, yet the major parties are more concerned with propping up government revenue than they are about the family and business budget.

The Copper String (CuString) project to connect the North West Minerals Province to the national grid will have significant benefits for the entire region. New and existing projects will have access to cheaper energy and employment and services will flow from more development. Recent developments in the energy market, as well as the potential for further growth of mining and processing in the North West make the CuString project more important than ever.

If the KAP is given the balance of power at the next election we will ensure State and Federal support is provided so that the regional and state wide benefits of this important infrastructure are realised.

We will also be fighting for special economic zones to be set up in remote areas of the state. Billions of dollars in government revenue and economic activity is generated from mining and agriculture in regional Queensland. This value is at risk through rising costs and ever increasing regulation imposed by a south east Queensland government. Action is needed to stimulate private investment across much of the state.

We will implement a Special Economic Zone scheme to provide targeted incentives to industries and new projects in areas with under-developed mineral, energy and agricultural resources. This scheme will enable the Government of the day to provide special regulatory and commercial arrangements for a number of key activities including regulated transport services, agricultural water allocations, energy supply and royalties. We will also ensure that major projects invest in the community through local employment and procurement obligations.

The major parties have let down regional Queensland for decades by focusing on the south east corner.

I’m confident that the KAP will hold a significant voice in the new parliament. We will use this voice to hold whoever forms government to account. We will ensure the regions receive a greater share of public spending proportional to the economic activity that regional Queensland generates for the state as a whole.