Robbie Katter's questions for the state cabinet in Mount Isa
It can always be seen as positive to have the Federal or State Government visiting our region, so I welcome the Queensland Cabinet to Mount Isa for their proposed trip this week however, they must be prepared to confront the severe issues we currently face.
I will try my best to get these in front of the Queensland Cabinet over their visit.
Youth Crime: The State Government must acknowledge the crippling and deep impact this issue has on Mount Isa and how we have become a sink-hole for problems throughout the Gulf and NT.
Whatever is currently being done is far from enough and there must be significant new initiatives to start to even curtail crime.
For one a remote processing facility is needed immediately to take offenders out of town and then look at good programs to bolt onto this.There is a large absence of any 'on country' programs at present.
You could significantly curtail much of this problem very quickly in this way, and it has very strong in principle support across the community.
Industry: After years of plans and discussions we still have some of the highest energy prices in industry in the western world. For too long we have waited for material support of Copperstring to give industry in the North West (not just Mount Isa) access to the national grid price which could bring prices down anywhere from 30 to 50 per cent.
This is a game-changer and shouldn't even need prompting for the government as it is only helping them generate more royalties for their own coffers.
It would be criminally irresponsible if the State Government lets this opportunity pass before mining companies make other plans.
Water Pricing: We have two great dams built to supply a city of 50,000 people and despite these dams being mostly paid for by the mines, the government continues to syphon large sums of money (often millions of dollars) from ratepayers in Mount Isa by sophisticated and opaque accounting practices.
The wash-up is we can't afford to use the water because we are charged unlike most other cities in Queensland (Gladstone being the only other exception).
We desperately need ownership back of that entity to drive down the cost of our water.
Flight Prices: There has been close to nil interest and no effective action from government that has gone anywhere close to addressing this chronic problem.
Despite desperate and continual engagement and appeals on the issue from myself the government still fails to even monitor pricing effectively, which is the start of the process to genuinely turn things around.
At least give the community a commitment that you will start monitoring the pricing of airlines taking advantage of our remoteness.
FIFO: The Labor Government's FIFO bill was well-intentioned but has zero real impact on the composition of the workforce out there.
It also has to be said also that the government is now, themselves, becoming a major offender with FIFO workforce.
This is a difficult issue but currently there are no strategies in place to address it and we need the resources of the State Government to attack such a large, endemic issue.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of issues but at the very least, they are areas that need to be addressed with something more than another plan being announced.
All issues needs assertive decision-making and I will bend over backwards to work with the government to help them solve these issues while they are out here.
Again, we welcome the government to the region but they must be willing to confront the vast challenges we have.
These problems also present great opportunities to turn things around for the better.
KAP State member for Traeger