Budget 2017-18: Regions savaged to fund Cross River Rail

LNP Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar said he was bitterly disappointed with the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s 2017-18 Budget yesterday.

“Yesterday’s budget confirms the Palaszczuk Labor Government has no real plan for Regional Queensland,” Mr Millar said.

“The hits keep coming, with $192 million in infrastructure funding ripped out of the outback and $400 million slashed from the state’s road funding program.

“The Labor Government have once again proven they are a Government for Brisbane, not a Government for Queensland.

“The Palaszczuk Government have siphoned off our regional infrastructure funding to pay for their signature project in Brisbane - the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail.

“It beggars belief that this Labor Government have committed billions of dollars to a project that will only save commuters a couple of minutes in travel time every morning.

“Perhaps they could just set their alarms 10 minutes earlier instead.

“A $5.6 billion investment in the regions would complete the GABSI works program, pest proof the Central West, build the Inland Port at Yamala, unlock the potential of our agriculture and tourism industries, and pave and seal many of our state-controlled roads which have been left largely untouched for two decades under Labor.

“I’m pleased to report that my strong advocacy has secured an additional $4 million in funding from the Queensland Government for the continuation of the Great Artesian Basin Sustainability Initiative (GABSI), beyond June 30, 2017.

“The Federal Government committed an additional $8 million in May this year to continue the GABSI works program until 2018-19, with an equal share of approved projects to be funded by the State and Federal Governments and landholders.

“With capping and piping works still to be completed on 160 free-flowing bores and 5500 kilometres of open bore drains - $4 million from the Palaszczuk Labor Government just isn’t going to cut it.

“Because of the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s indecisiveness, we’ve had a stop-start GABSI works program that is counter-productive and leaving landholders and contractors feeling frustrated.”

Mr Millar said continued funding for cluster fencing projects in Western Queensland also took a hit in yesterday’s budget.

“Only $1 million has been allocated for feral pest fencing in the 2017-18 Budget.

“This adds insult to injury for graziers in Western Queensland battling the scourge of wild dogs and five consecutive years of drought.

“Continued investment in cluster fencing is critical to returning industry confidence back to a region which has been savaged by economic instability due to unprecedented drought conditions and other market forces.

“The 2017-18 Budget also neglects a direct cash line allocation for extended drought support measures.

“The Minister for Agriculture obviously needs a reminder that the drought isn’t over in Western Queensland - landholders, communities, small businesses and industry all continue to suffer the effects of the ongoing drought.

“Supporting our agricultural industries, investing in infrastructure and strengthening the local economy by reducing the cost of living and creating jobs is key to improving the sustainability and liveability of Regional Queensland.”

Gregory projects featured in the 2017-18 Budget:


2017-18 Budget Allocation

Total project cost

Boulia Community Hospital refurbishment

$1.6 million

$2 million

Aramac Primary Healthcare Centre redevelopment

$1.5 million

$3 million

Longreach Hospital medical imaging upgrade

$4.4 million

$5.6 million

Longreach Pastoral College upgrade



Landsborough Highway widening (Blackall to Barcaldine)

$5.6 million

$12.5 million

Ageing in Place, Barcaldine, to help elderly people stay at home longer



Blackall Hospital refurbishment

$5 million

$17.9 million

Birdsville Geothermal Plant capital works

$7.4 million

$15.1 million

Emerald State High School multi-purpose hall upgrade

$1.2 million

$1.3 million