Editorial: A response to Bob Katter and the budget

The federal member for Kennedy Bob Katter had a typically long-winded response to my editorial suggesting he was missing in action for North West Queensland when it came to the federal budget handed down last week.

Lengthy, but rather missing the point.

Mr Katter began by pointing out the great roads at the Kennedy electorate end of Cairns compared to the Leichhardt end.

I don’t know a great deal about Cairns to verify this but I know enough that while its southern suburbs might in Kennedy, it is hardly North West Queensland. 

I understand that Kennedy is a big electorate but frankly what happens in Cairns is of little concern and use for us.

Similar with his next point about funding for Hell’s Gate Dam on the Burkedin River, well done, but it is of little help to us west of the Divide.

As for the “$320m for the copper stream”, I can find no mention of this funding in any budget paper. I have no idea when this funding was allocated but it does not appear to be in the 2018 Budget though I’m happy to stand corrected.

As for the stunt to try to remove the RETs (which is a Renewable Emissions Target not a Renewable Energy Tax as Mr Katter states), it would appear this failed as the RET is still in place (as a by the way, I’m pleased it did fail as it is one of the few incentives to move to large-scale wind and solar in this country, a move that surely should be blindingly obvious for economic reasons let alone environmental).

As for Relocation Sentencing and his meeting with taxi drivers, both are admirable initiatives but state-based and again irrelevant to the federal budget.

So again I would ask, what has Bob done for North West Queensland in this budget? I have invited him onto our Elevenses program to discuss this live with our viewers, and I understand his office has accepted this invitation at a date to be advised.

One thing I do agree with Bob is the lack of action.on the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund.

The Abbott government made the northern Australia plan a centrepiece of its government but the NAIF remains covered in cobwebs with current PM Malcolm Turnbull showing a distinct lack of interest in the north – Derek Barry